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Eczema Treatment Overview

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Treating eczema

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) can sometimes be treated at home. The main eczema treatments are skin products like heavy-duty moisturizers and oil-based emollients, which both help skin stay hydrated and retain its moisture.

These will likely help if your eczema is mild (you have small areas of dry skin) or moderate (dry skin, itching, and redness). Sometimes oral antihistamines can relieve itching. These eczema treatments should start to relieve symptoms within 2–4 weeks.

It’s also important to try to figure out and avoid triggers, like irritants and stress, which can cause flare-ups.

Eczema treatments next steps

If your symptoms are not improving with OTC skin products or your symptoms are moderate to severe, you should see a healthcare provider. There are a range of medications that they can prescribe to treat symptoms and help avoid flare-ups. They will start with prescription-strength steroid creams, which take from 2–4 weeks to work.

Depending on how severe your eczema is, you may need steroid pills, immunosuppressant drugs, or phototherapy.

If your eczema is painful, swells, or there’s a lot of drainage or crusting of the area, you might have a superinfection. See your doctor immediately or go to urgent care.

Go to the ER if you have severe and full-body eczema. It can develop into a condition called erythroderma, which can cause severe distress and dehydration.

Medical tests & labs

Eczema is usually diagnosed based on an examination of your skin and your symptoms.

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All treatments for eczema

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