I am a long time eczema suffer, who has been through it all.
You name it, I have tried it. I was stupid (though desperate) enough to participate in a trial drug, that eventually left me red like a tomato. It was only through a combination of medication that a GP prescribed, was I then able to get my eczema back under control.
In addition to the inflammation that is caused by a hyper immune system, I have extremely dry skin. I can generate enough electricity to power a city simply by pulling off my thermal fleece top. I can generate so much electricty that I fear touching the car door in the Australian winter with receiving an electric shock.
Below are my tips for controlling the anger of eczema. I hope that these tips will help you!
Tip 1. Wet long johns and thermal tops
Use thermal tops and long johns
I found wet dressings to be extremely effective. Wet dressings, in my younger years, consisted of wet bandages and plastic wrap. The plastis wrap would be wrapped around my arms and legs, then overlayed with damp bandages. It was extremely labor intensive, until I discovered a better way.
I now run my thermal top and long johns under warm water and wring then wring the excess water out. I apply a good portion of steroid cream and moisturizer (mixed together), and put on my wet clothing. For my face, I will use a damp cloth and lay it over my face and neck.
I normally perform this in the bathroom and sit on a stool. In the winter, I would sit under the heating lamp to remain warm.
After 5 to 10 minutes, I would remove the now dry clothing, and use a towel to wipe of any excess moisture from my body. I then apply a bit more moisturizer before getting changed.
Tip 2. Don’t let eczema get out of control
Dermatologists will often warn against using too much steroid cream. The effects of steroid cream are skin thinning, but also other symptoms if used near the eyes.
Though you don’t want to overuse steroid creams, you also do NOT want your eczema to get out of control. The longer you persevere without using steroid creams or any medication, hoping the eczema flare will die down on its own, the worse the flare will become.
You need to get on top of eczema early and quickly. You want to stay in control, well in advance of the onslaught of eczema flare up. Unfortunately, this will mean using steroid cream, wet dressing, anti histamine, and everything else under the sun to try and keep it under control.
Tip 3. UV light
It’s hard to say whether UV light worked for me, because at the time of using it, I was also on several other medications.
Having said that, I do believe that UV light was of some help to me.
UV light isn’t the most convenient of methods to use to mitigate eczema. You need to go to a place which has a UV chamber, and stand in the chamber for increasing lengths of time. As you progress through the treatment, your skin will gradually darken, just like getting a sun tan. Also, a medical doctor needs to prescribe the treatment plan which outlines the number of times a week and the length of each session.
While I know there are mixed opinions and reactions to the UV light, I found the UV light a nothing to lose treatment. There are no side effects, apart from getting a sun tan which disappears once the program has finished.
Tip 4. Prednisone
Try and avoid prednisone
Prednisone is a last ditch medication for acute eczema. This medication suppresses the entire immune system, which can make you susceptible to infection.
Prednisone can sometimes be effective, however, some eczema sufferers have found that after a short time, the eczema flares become worse. I.e. Prednisone gives short term relief, but can cause future eczema flares to be even worse.
If you have to, use prednisone to get eczema under control, especially if it is really bad. Then move prednisone and ensure you are using other methods to keep the eczema under control.
Tip 5. Don’t have long hot showers
Who doesn’t love a long hot shower. Only eczema sufferers will know what I mean. And it’s not because it’s warming our bodies in the winter. The sensation of the hot water hitting the skin dampens the itchiness, or maybe it diverts the mind to the heat which in itself can be painful, but less so that the itchiness. It’s a sensation that is hard to describe, and even harder to explain why.
Nevertheless, I have been told countless times, do NOT have hot showers! Apparently they will remove the good oil from your skin. That said, my skin is soooo dry, I have no oil to lose by having a hot shower.
That’s my train of thoughts anyways. But, I do agree that hot showers or even long showers are not good for me. Eczema flares can occur if my skin is exposed to extreme degrees of temperature. You don’t want to shock your skin with fluctuations in temperature. Keep body temp normal if possible.
Tip 6. Infections must be treated immediately
Any infection is bad. Whether you have infection in your chest, in your gums or on your skin (because you’ve been scratching too much), it must be treated immediately.
Do not let infections linger as it could grow and make things a lot worse. Get treatment for infections with antibiotics or other medication prescribed by a health professional.
Tip 7. Allergies
I am allergic to nearly everything under the sun. Dustmites and grass are the culprits. Unfortunately, when an allergic reaction occurs it will inevitably trigger an eczema flare.
This means, I have to ingest antihistamines quickly to get the allergic reaction under control, and also manage the eczema flare ups at the same time.
Try and avoid allergic reactions as much as possible, even if the reactions may be minor. For me, this means vacuuming the floor daily, don’t have carpet floors, have an air filter on to remove dust and dustmites.
Tip 8. Don’t sweat
Sweat will cause an eczema flare. Sadly, I love to play sport and I sweat profusely from my nose and head. The sweat will run down my neck and soak my t shirt causing eczema flares.
Avoid sweating as much as possible. Also running or playing sport which get’s your body heated is bad for ezcema. It’s important to keep the skin temperature as steady as possible.
Tip 9. Dupixent
The newish drug on the market is dupixent which suppresses the part of the immune system that overreacts and causes eczema. Unlike other immuno suppressant drugs which impacts the entire immune system, this drug only suppresses part of the immune system.
This is ground breaking for some eczema sufferers. I have personally found this drug to be the most effective in my life. More than using steroid creams, wet dressing and UV light.
Unfortunately, this drug requires injections every two weeks into the side of my stomach. I am fortunately able to administer the injection myself without the aid of a nurse or doctor. So, while it is extremely effective, it might not be suitable for everyone.
As a side note: my siblings have eczema as well. Dupixent has worked for some and not for others.
Tip 10. Get help
You may have seen a health care professional, who has then prescribed washing your clothes at high temperature, cleaning your bed sheets every day at high temperature and a thousand of other things to control your eczema.
Seek help if it becomes all too much. You do not need to do everything on your own!
Whilse I am not a healthcare professional, I have been a long time eczema sufferer since I was born. Controlling eczema is a life long task (at the moment), hence you need to be on top of it every day. Use a combination of treatments and don’t let eczema flare get out of control, let alone even start.
Keep informed of new medication that is starting to be trialled or hit the market. There has been advancements in oral targeted immuno suppressants, which could be a game changer.
Good luck and I wish you well with fighting eczema.