By: Sep 19, 2013
  Question

What are the treatment options for eczema?

Proper skin care is paramount to help manage eczema.

Eczema encompasses a group of conditions associated with skin hypersensitivity. Various types of eczema exist: atopic eczema (e.g. infantile and childhood eczema), asteatotic eczema (e.g. elderly with dry skin), dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx), allergic contact dermatitis (skin allergy), irritant contact dermatitis (irritant, e.g. water, triggered dermatitis), nummular dermatitis (coin-shaped eczema lesions) and neurodermatitis (habit itch eczema).

Basic skin care routine is paramount in management of eczema. It includes increasing humidity at home, bathing in emulsifying oils, and applying moisturizer after bathing. Topical treatments of eczema include topical steroids, often used to control initial flares, and immunomodulators (e.g. pimecrolimus and tacrolimus), useful for prophylaxis and maintenance. In topical therapy, creams are mostly used for acute inflammatory eczema, whereas ointments are more occlusive and are preferred for chronic and lichenified eczema. Other treatment options for severe eczema include UVB phototherapy and systemic immunosuppressive agents (e.g. short courses of prednisone, for eczema flares).