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How is eczema treated?

There is no cure for eczema, so treatments aim to relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation and itchiness. Your doctor may suggest one or more of the following treatment options: 1) Self-care - taking a cool bath or applying cold, wet dressings to your eczema may provide relief from pain and itching. You may also find it helpful when bathing to use mild soaps, rinse well and then dry your skin carefully. Using an emollient, such as paraffin, sorbolene and aqueous creams and putting on loose cotton clothing is also recommended. In infants and children, scratching may be avoided by trimming the fingernails regularly or putting cotton gloves on at night. 2) Medications - these can include corticosteroids, which quickly reduce inflammation; antihistamines, which help to relieve itching by suppressing part of your body's natural allergic response; and immunosuppressants, that work by turning down the body's overall immune response. 3) Light therapies - this involves exposing the skin to a controlled level of natural sunlight. More advanced options, such as deep-penetrating light therapy, use ultraviolet (UV) light (UVA, UVB or narrow band UVB) to help control eczema. Care needs to be taken during these treatments to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet light, which is a known cause of skin cancers.

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About this article

Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 06 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 567 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Eczema


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