How to Clear Up Eczema

Keep A Steroid Cream Handy
Steroid creams, ointments, gels, and lotions can’t cure eczema. But when it flares, they’re the best choice for controlling it. The catch: Overuse (more than four continuous weeks) can lead to thinning of the skin, reduced bone density in adults, and growth problems in kids – but these sides effect are rare. In fact, some researchers say fear of steroid creams can have worse side effects than the creams themselves. In one British study of 200 people with eczema 73 percent admitted to being worried about using a steroid cream, and 24 percent admitted to skimping on or not skipping the treatment as a result. But studies show that smart use brigs relief, usually without problems.

If you’re worried about stronger creams recommended by your doctor, remember that they’re safe and very effective when used as directed. When British researchers followed 174 kids and teens with mild to moderate eczema for 18 weeks, they found that when treating flare-ups, three days of high-dose cream worked as well as seven days of a low-dose cream. Both groups have the same number of itchy-free days and neither showed signs of skin thinning.

Get Tested For Allergies
Pet dander, pollen, and dust mites can all trigger eczema flare-ups. In fact, one Scandinavian study of 45 people with eczema found that everyone with severe skin problems was allergic to at least one of these airborne troublemakers. But before you give the cat away, get an allergy test. It makes sense to know who (or what) the enemy is before you launch all-out battle.

Experts have conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of strategies for avoiding allergens at home (such as removing carpets, keeping pets out of the bedroom, and covering mattress and pillows with allergen-proof covers). While some recommend it studies tend to show that these steps often don’t reduce eczema flare-ups, simply because it’s tough to keep the air completely allergen free. What can help: Allergy shot. In one German study of 89 people with eczema who were allergic to dust mites, those who got immunotherapy had an easier time keeping their eczema under control than those who didn’t have the shots.

Consider Food Allergies
Allergies to milk, wheat, and other food may sometimes cause flare-up in kids with eczema. While food allergies are usually rare among adults with severe eczema were allergic to at least one food. Before you start cutting whole food groups out of your diet on your own, though, talk to an allergist, a dietitian, or an naturopath about the best way to test yourself. Often this involves keeping a detailed food diary, removing one suspect food from your diet for several weeks, and then eating it again to see what happens.