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How to treat eczema

21st September 2012  : 

Eczema is actually a number of skin conditions that are characterised by a few, very unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms include itchy and dry skin, redness, blistering, flaking, cracking and even bleeding. With no known cure for eczema, sufferers of the condition must try to minimise the symptoms, which reduces inflammation and itching.

The best way of managing eczema in the long term is through the use of appropriate skin care products, such as moisturising creams (emollients). Moisturisers, ensure that the skin is kept hydrated, which can help relieve any itching, but also allows the skin to heal itself. The type of creams needed may depend on how bad the condition is at any given stage. For example, the driest skin will need a much thicker ointment.

Some people also find that anti-itching tablets or antihistamines can be useful for combating the symptoms of eczema. There is a suggestion that it may in fact be the sedating effect of antihistamines that actually cause people to stop itching however, especially when they are taken at night.

In cases where there is a particularly nasty episode of eczema in which the worst symptoms are present, such as bleeding and blistering, stronger medication may be needed to tackle the problem. In these circumstances steroids, in the form of a cream, may be used to counter an eczema flare-up. However, it's important that steroids are only used as a short-term solution for the most serious cases.

This is because the side effects of taking the steroids needed to combat eczema can be quite severe. Ironically, prolonged use of the steroids can make the skin thinner and more prone to damage, making the effects of eczema worse in the long-term.

One final way of treating eczema is through light therapy. This entirely natural skin treatment uses focused UV lights to stop the immune system from over-reacting, which is what causes the inflammation. It's vital that a trained dermatologist carries out the treatment to ensure the correct amount of UV light is administered.

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