Eczema is not unfamiliar to most of us – in fact, a study conducted on 681 people in Singapore found that 21 per cent of children and 11 per cent of adults have eczema.
Eczema is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. The word “eczema” is also used specifically to talk about atopic dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), the most common type of eczema.
Some people outgrow the condition, while others will continue to have it throughout adulthood. For those of us who may have to struggle with this skin condition for the rest of our lives, it can be very daunting.
Hence, Daily Vanity has compiled this guide to help you out, where we share the best tips and products to use for those suffering from eczema.
How to treat eczema
As many medical experts will tell you, there is, unfortunately, no scientifically-proven or permanent cure to eczema. Your doctor may only be able to prescribe medications that can treat the symptoms, but not the root cause, of eczema. Some of these medications include:
Topical and systemic corticosteroids
Corticosteroids are a type of anti-inflammatory medication taken to relieve the main symptoms of eczema, such as skin inflammation and itchiness.
Topical corticosteroids come in the form of creams and ointments which are applied directly to the skin. If topical treatments are not effective, systemic corticosteroids are then prescribed. These are either injected or taken by mouth, and they are only used for short periods of time.
If you have an extensive area of infected eczema, you may be prescribed an antibiotic to take by mouth. One of the most common antibiotics prescribed is flucloxacillin – this is usually taken for one week. If you’re allergic to penicillin, you might be given an alternative such as clarithromycin.
Antihistamines are taken not to stop a flare-up, but to relieve itching. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a common choice of antihistamines among eczema patients, but you can also get your doctor to prescribe alternatives, including hydroxyzine (Atarax) and cyproheptadine.
Best eczema treatment creams that can help relieve skin itch and dryness
For those who have mild eczema, your doctor will usually recommend that you buy over-the-counter products to treat eczema symptoms first, as medications are usually prescribed only when the itching and rash are not well controlled, or when there is a skin infection.
If you are looking for creams that can relieve those itchy rashes caused by eczema, check out some of the best eczema treatment creams available in major pharmacies that are clinically-proven to stop itching and highly-recommended by eczema patients:
Suu Balm Rapid Itch Relieving Moisturiser Cream
Formulated at the National Skin Centre, Suu Balm’s Rapid Itch Relieving Moisturising Cream is a dual-benefit skincare product for deep moisturisation and rapid itch relief. It is formulated with natural menthol to provide fast itch relief and ceramides to moisturise the skin, making this perfect for those with eczema who need rapid itch relief.
Free from parabens and steroids, this moisturising cream also boasts a texture that is light and non-sticky for frequent use, so you can even use this on your face daily without worrying about breaking out from clogged pores.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
A compromised skin barrier can lead to dryness and itching, which aggravates skin conditions like eczema. Hence, it is important to use a moisturising cream that can reinforce the skin barrier with hydrating ingredients.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream acts as both by effectively hydrating as it helps restore the skin’s protective barrier. Developed with dermatologists and ideal for very dry skin, this rich, non-greasy, fast-absorbing cream features patented MVE Delivery Technology to release a steady stream of hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides throughout the day and night.
Suitable for sensitive skin, this oil-free and fragrance-free cream from CeraVe also helps the skin hold on to moisture – make sure to pack this in your toiletries if you are travelling to a cold and dry climate!
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream retails at SGD6.90 on Shopee.
Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream
Avène is one of the top brands when it comes to creating products for sensitive skin, hence it is little wonder that the brand has developed a cream that directly targets itching, redness and irritation for skin prone to eczema.
The XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream is based on a multi-competent formula created around an active innovation, I-modulia® – this is a biotechnological innovation that reduces itching sensations due to dry skin, soothes irritations due to skin hyperreactivity, and allows the skin to protect itself once again.
That’s not all! This cream from Avène also contains the iconic Avène Thermal Spring Water, which is well-loved for its effectiveness in soothing and softening skin so that it doesn’t itch anymore.
Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream retails at SGD49.90 in Guardian.
ICM Pharma Aqurea Moisturising Cream
Free from fragrances and colours, ICM Pharma Aqurea Moisturising Cream is one of the most highly-recommended creams for eczema patients who need instant relief.
This moisturiser is an effective, hypoallergenic, hydrating emollient containing Urea 10% – this ingredient has been clinically proven to soften and reduce scaling and itching, as well as lock in moisture to prevent water loss for those with dry skin.
ICM Pharma Aqurea Moisturising Cream retails at SGD11.20 in Watsons.
Although some products use lanolin (wool grease) for its moisturising properties, people with eczema should avoid using these as it may cause irritation in the skin.
Hence, Egoderm Cream has made sure to omit the popular ingredient; instead, this cream uses Methyl hydroxybenzoate and Tumenol ammonium (alternative to steroids) to achieve the same efficacy in relieving eczema symptoms.
Apply up to three times a day on any rashes and inflammation, particularly of the face or hands. You can also apply this regularly as maintenance therapy for dry and scaly skin, as the moisturising base can effectively hydrate your skin.
Egoderm Cream retails at SGD9.35 in Watsons.
Skincare tips to keep eczema under control
Prevention is always better than cure – rather than always slathering on creams every time your skin starts to itch, you should first pay attention to your skincare routine and ensure that it does not contribute to eczema flare-ups.
A good skincare routine would aim to strengthen your skin’s defective barrier. Here are some of the best tips provided by dermatologists:
Take short, lukewarm showers instead of long and hot ones
We all love a hot shower, but the truth is that it can actually be very bad for your skin, especially if you are soaking in hot water for too long. Those extra minutes — especially in hot water — can make it harder for your skin to retain moisture, further drying it out.
Avoid products containing fragrances
While you might like the sweet scent of your current cleanser and body wash, dyes and scents can further trigger irritation, so always opt for fragrance-free skincare products.
Invest in a humidifier
Dry air can trigger eczema flare-ups, so it’s important to keep the humidity up in your home so that your skin remains hydrated.
Track your meals
People with eczema are more likely to have food allergies, although dermatologists will have you know that it’s hard to connect flare-ups with the diet, especially in adults. Tracking what you eat might make any potential links more clear. If you notice a consistent trigger like eggs, soy, or milk eaten within two days of a flare-up, you may be referred to an allergist for further testing.