Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that may be the result of a malfunctioning immune system. Many sufferers of this itchy, dry skin also have other types of immune system disorders, such as asthma or hay fever. The exact cause is unknown. However, the prevailing medical opinion is that eczema may be an inherited trait. There is no cure for eczema, but you can control the illness by treating symptoms as they appear. Home remedies can help you keep a handle on eczema and deal with painful outbreaks; however, if symptoms become too severe, you will need to consult a physician.
Take a bleach bath. Fill the tub with lukewarm water, and add 1/2 cup of household bleach. According to the Mayo Clinic, a small amount of bleach added to bath water may lesson some of the pain associated with eczema by killing infection. Soak in the water for five to 10 minutes.
Set up a humidifier in the house. Hot air from the heating system can dry skin out and trigger eczema. Humidified air will also help moisturize skin naturally.
Use solid vegetable oil as a moisturizer. The oil component will coat skin and help it retain natural oils. Apply a coating of solidified vegetable oil to wet skin to lock in water and hydrate the cells. Do not use fat from cooking; only apply clean, unused solid oil.
Prepare a cool compress for severely affected areas. Wet a gauze bandage with cool water, and lay it across painful areas. This will help moisturize the skin and alleviate itching. Leave the compress on for 10 to 20 minutes. Moisturize the area immediately after removing the gauze.
Prevention is the best treatment for eczema. Using mild, non-drying soaps and thick moisturizers will help stop flare-ups.
Keep humidifiers clean to avoid bacteria and fungi infection. Follow the instructions provided with the unit for proper set up and maintenance.
Infection is a common problem with eczema. If the area continues to produce pus or becomes red and streaked, see your dermatologist. Curing the infection may be the only way to heal an outbreak.