The term eczema is used to describe a wide range of medical conditions which include the inflammation of the outer layer of the skin. The term is broadly used to refer to persistent skin conditions such as dry, reddened itchy skin, bleeding and oozing from infected areas as well as dry scaly skin formation. Severe cases of eczema may be treated with the use of corticosteroids. While it may bring about rapid improvement, as with steroids, there may be long lasting undesirable side- effects. Creams for eczema form an important part of its treatment procedure.
The symptoms of eczema may vary from person to person, according to the specific type of eczema. Eczema sometimes can occur for a few hours and days due to some unwanted reaction but sometimes it can persist for a prolonged duration too in which case it is referred to as chronic dermatitis.
Contact eczema, seborhheic eczema, nummular eczema, neurodermatitis, statis dermatitis are the various types of eczema. In our goal to stop deterioration of eczema and improve the patient’s condition it is always very important to keep the skin hydrated by the application of creams and ointments which have high oil and low water content. Avoid over bathing. It’s important however to select the proper cream for eczema. There are creams which just prevent the skin from flaring up at frequent intervals while steroid creams and ointments which reduce inflammation and clear flare-ups of eczema.
There are several brands of creams to choose from. Choice of cream for eczema depends on the severity of the disease, the dryness of the skin and the area affected. Herbal creams made from herbal extracts of chamomile, licorice, and witch hazels have been found to be useful as well. However before using herbal applications one should always consult a medical practitioner as it may cause allergic contact dermatitis. Several things have to be kept in mind before usage of any cream. Overdosage will not help as non- steroid creams contain no active medicines which pass through your skin. It is advisable to use the cream as soon as possible after a shower or a bath or even swimming.
In some cases of eczema, topical steroids (steroid creams and ointments) are also prescribed. Tacrolimus (probiotic) and pimecrolimus(elidel) are two topical cream medications approved by the government of the United States for patients over two years of age. These drugs belong to a class of immune suppressant drugs known as calcineurin inhibitors. Use of this may result in very rare cases of malignancy so it is advised that this should be used only as a substitute if all other medications fail. Patients with compromised immune systems are also advised against use of such drugs. There is also a form of treatment which involves a combination of steroid and non- steroid creams. For such cases, the normal cream should be applied and 10-15 minutes after the skin has absorbed it, the steroid cream is used.