If you or your child have eczema, you are probably no stranger to the itching, swelling, and rash-like symptoms that it can cause. You can get eczema anywhere on your body. The exact location depends in part on how old you are, says Kalyani Marathe, MD, a pediatric dermatologist and director of the Division of Dermatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Babies tend to have eczema on their:
- Back of arms or legs
Older children and teenagers they tend to have symptoms in the folds or places where they sweat, such as their:
- The inside of the elbows
- On the back of the knees
- Sometimes on the hands or feet
Adults are more likely to get eczema on their hands, Marathe says, perhaps because they wash their hands and do more dishes. It is also common for symptoms to appear in:
Adults are less likely to have facial and scalp eczema, Marathe says.
Both adults and children can get eyelid eczema, she says. This is often due to an allergic reaction to something that touches the skin.
Use of medications on difficult-to-treat stains
The amount and type of treatment that is right for you or your child also depends on where the eczema is located, says Marathe. Some areas are more difficult to treat than others.
Treatment can be more complicated when eczema appears on parts of your body with thinner skin, such as the lips, the areas around the eyes, and the groin.
Steroids, the most common treatment, can thin the skin if you use them excessively, which could lead to bruising and tears, says Dr. Steve Daveluy, associate professor and program director at Wayne State Dermatology in Michigan. The accidental entry of steroids into your eyes can also increase your chances of having a temporary type of glaucoma, which could affect your vision, he says.
Still, you can safely use low-potency (weaker) steroids on your face and groin, Daveluy says. You just have to be careful. Work with your dermatologist to make sure you are using the correct concentration for the correct time, and call him immediately if you have any side effects.
Your dermatologist may also recommend nonsteroidal medications, such as so-called topical calcineurin inhibitors. “They are excellent because they do not have the same side effects as steroids, they do not thin the skin, there is no risk of glaucoma, so they are very safe to use on the face and genitals.” Daveluy says. The only possible downsides, he says, are that they can hurt a bit at first, and getting your insurance to cover them could be a hindrance.
Home remedies for hard-to-treat stains
Want to try home remedies to ease your symptoms? The types that might help also depend in part on where the eczema occurs (Note: Talk to your doctor before trying home remedies on a baby).
Moist wraps, which can help medications work better, work well on parts of the body where the skin is thickest, such as the legs, feet, hands, wrists and forearms, Marathe says. To make a wet wrap:
- Put your medication on.
- Cover the affected body part with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
- Take off the bandage and hydrate your skin.
You can do the same with store-bought tubular dressings. The only difference is that you soak them in warm water and squeeze them out so they’re wet when you put them on, Marathe says.
If your young child has eczema, you can do something similar if you wear long-sleeved pajamas at night: soak the pajamas in warm water and then put them in the dryer for a few seconds so that they are moist but warm. “Sometimes children sleep with them as well [parents] put dry pajamas on top, “says Marathe.” Some kids like that a lot because it has a cool feeling, but for other kids it’s too cold for them so they don’t like it. “
A couple of home remedies for the whole body can also help. “Diluted bleach baths are great for people of all ages, and we recommend them for kids, too,” says Marathe. You can get the benefits of swimming in a chlorinated pool or doing a bleach bath at home. Use a quarter cup of natural, unconcentrated bleach for half a tub of water, or half a cup for a full tub of water, she says. Whether you go for a swim in a pool or take a bleach bath, it is important to shower or rinse immediately afterward. If the chlorine dries on your skin, it’s likely to make you itch more, Marathe says.
A little sunlight can also help ease the itchiness of eczema, he says. Get outside for 15 minutes without sunscreen before 10 a.m. M. Or after 4 p.m. M., When the sun’s ultraviolet rays are weaker.
Other ways to relieve itching in hard-to-treat areas include:
Hydrate. To prevent your skin from becoming dry, inflamed or irritated, your daily moisturizer is a must, says Daveluy. Choose one that does not have a lot of perfumes and fragrances, which can irritate the skin. The most important thing is to find one that you like and use at least once a day, he says. “Most people need it more than once a day.”
Wash off the pollen. If you notice your eczema flares up during pollen season, rinse your face after you’ve been outside for
a while, says Daveluy. Put on moisturizer immediately afterwards.
Refresh. Rather than scratching or rubbing a lot, which can damage the skin, soothe the itch with an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas. “Ice really does relieve itchiness very well, because the very nerves that feel the itch feel cold,” he says.
Make a soothing mask. “You can make a rice paper face mask, like the one they use to make spring rolls or fresh rolls,” says Daveluy. “Basically you make holes for the eyes and the mouth … and then you wet it [with water]. You can wear it to soothe your skin, because it has some natural moisturizing effects from the starch in rice. Some people even use it to sleep. ”You may want to cut the rice paper in two before wetting it, as it can be difficult to handle.
Try the massage. If your child’s face itches at night, dab some moisturizer on the skin before bed, says Daveluy. “They did some studies that found that massage can be relaxing for children with eczema and help them fall asleep. And it can actually help improve eczema, probably helping it calm down a bit. “
Buy safely. Talk to your dermatologist before using over-the-counter groin products, especially for the female genitalia. Many of these products have many ingredients that can irritate eczema, says Daveluy.