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Rid Yourself of Eczema, Part One

Updated on May 19, 2019

Beyond Acute, Painful, and Itchy

Anyone familiar with poison ivy, sumac, or oak can see how eczema & dermatitis can look similar to the irritant rashes, making diagnosis a challenge. This highlights the need for a Dr. rather than self treatment.
Anyone familiar with poison ivy, sumac, or oak can see how eczema & dermatitis can look similar to the irritant rashes, making diagnosis a challenge. This highlights the need for a Dr. rather than self treatment. | Source

Dermatitis and Eczema

Dermatitis and Eczema are non-contagious diseases of the skin that produce rashes, itching, swelling, and pain. I repeat, they are not contagious and have more to do with the individual's immune system, known and unknown allergies, known and unknown contact with chemicals, or even lack of sun exposure. Many people with dermatitis and/or eczema find they are treated as if they are exposing others to a contagious, deadly disease when this is not correct at all.

The most basic tip I can provide to aid you and your loved ones with dermatitis/eczema is to remember this. If it's wet, dry it, but not overly. If it's dry, moisturize. When you have received a diagnosis of dermatitis or eczema from a doctor it is important to ask questions and learn as much as you can to reduce or eliminate your symptoms whenever this is possible. Because you must find a cause or in some cases several to find a cure, understand you must try to find all the causes to give yourself a better chance of finding a cure. Often a number of problems are at play but it's also common to not be able to find them all. If you find some, you can hopefully find some relief. If you find them all you can be cured.

Eczema and/or dermatitis are broken skin and broken skin begs to be infected. I am lucky enough in the sense that mine is mostly limited to my hands. Others have far larger areas or have it head to toe. I feel terribly for them. After a couple years of much trial and error, with the help of my doctors, and many late night visits to the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard, and the Mayo Clinic websites because I was itching & couldn't sleep, I tried something so simple and basic yet so hard to do in our modern world that I feel like an idiot for ignoring something so basic in my life.

It will either work for you or it won't and it has been recommended in office for decades yet you don't have to go to a doctor to get it done or buy a device if you live in certain areas. Just make sure you ask your doctor about the best way to go about it for you to see if it works for you. More on that later. You're probably here now because you want relief now and then you will see what cured my eczema a maximum of 48 hours.

Right Hand, Ugh!

Using OTC treatments before going to the doctor only made things worse for me. I did not know there were chemicals I am allergic to IN THE RASH TREATMENTS sold in stores & online. Manufacturers must keep sales up somehow, eh?
Using OTC treatments before going to the doctor only made things worse for me. I did not know there were chemicals I am allergic to IN THE RASH TREATMENTS sold in stores & online. Manufacturers must keep sales up somehow, eh? | Source

Treating Wet Dermatitis, Wet Eczema

If your dermatitis is wet or weeping, you need to wash the area gently to remove any crusting, debris and to reduce bacteria. Debris can easily gather on a wet or dry rash just as it does on unbroken skin. The problem with dermatitis or eczema is that it is broken skin and debris, dirt, and germs that will lead to infection. Debris includes but is not limited to lint, hair, dirt, bacteria, crusting, etc. Gently pat dry after you have washed your rash. If it continues to weep, continue to gently pat dry by waiting for it to weep, patting and repeating until the weeping stops. It could take just a couple minutes to as many as 10 minutes or more before the weeping stops depending on the size of the rash, whether you were truly gentle and whether or not you scratched or rubbed your rash. Apply whatever treatments you are using after the entire rash is clean and dry.

These rashes itch so badly that many people of all ages, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds will scratch while they are awake or asleep UNTIL WELL AFTER THEY BLEED. So I will NEVER tell a soul cursed with this to not scratch, at some point it will happen. Period. All you can hope to do is limit the damage you caused by rubbing rather than scratching with your fingernails or other rough or sharp objects. If you wear gloves to bed it can lessen the damage caused by scratching as well. I wish people who have never had these conditions who tell others to not scratch could be promptly slapped for their ignorance of how absolutely itchy this condition can be for many of its sufferers. If it were that simple, scratching would not occur! My rant over, you will still need to smooth on a moisturizer for your dermatitis, preferably an ointment or oil-based cream which gives more protection against dryness. In a pinch, Vaseline can help.

Just Go Away Already!

I just applied a layer of Eucrisa which also did not work for me. The rash feels even worse than it looks here :(
I just applied a layer of Eucrisa which also did not work for me. The rash feels even worse than it looks here :( | Source

Treating Dry Dermatitis, Dry Eczema

If your dermatitis is already dry or overly dry, you need to moisturize it immediately. Wash the skin and then soak the area for 10 minutes in clean room temperature water or cool water, gently pat dry and smear on a generous helping of an oil-based moisturizer such as petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, etc. The water soak puts some moisture back into your skin and the oil-based moisturizer helps keep that moisture locked in, for a while at least. Avoid using lotions as they have water but little to keep that moisture from evaporating quickly.

Yes, you may not like oiliness but that is what keeps the moisture in. Try using a thin layer rather than thick globs. Use cotton or eczema gloves to minimize oil from your hands getting all over things. You may need to try out several different types and thicknesses of gloves to find something that satisfies you. Don't forget, you may need to do this soak and smear several times a day. It sucks. Trust me, I know personally but your skin will feel more comfortable than leaving it dry or allowing it to get severely dry and you will be able to avoid tearing or cracks that bleed and complicate healing.

Even My Fingertips Were Miserable

The eczema only spared the palms of my hands, everything else was fair game. Doing anything basic such as changing clothes, drying off after a shower, was ridiculously painful and led to more weeping.
The eczema only spared the palms of my hands, everything else was fair game. Doing anything basic such as changing clothes, drying off after a shower, was ridiculously painful and led to more weeping. | Source

More Important Notes About Curing Eczema Or Dermatitis

If you can find the cause(s) of your eczema or dermatitis, you can cure it. If you cannot find all the causes, which is common, you still may be able to lessen your symptoms. Be aware of the fact that you can have one or more types simultaneously as well. There is the possibility that even the most experienced and well-trained doctors may not be able to find a single cause or trigger, let alone everything that triggers your eczema and there is commonly more than a single trigger or factor for these conditions. It is then that you realize you are just along for the ride your skin takes you on. Unfortunately, some dermatitis and/or eczema sufferers can only hope to be partially clear. At some point, you have to devote less or no time and effort to seeking out what is causing your dermatitis and instead focus on managing the symptoms whether with prescription creams and ointments, OTC creams and ointments, steroid shots, Dupixent shots, sunlight exposure, or any combination thereof.

I highly recommend getting help from an experienced specialist doctor rather than wasting time and money on OTC option after OTC option and finding nothing really works. I quickly spent hundreds of dollars in the first month of onset on OTC creams, gauze, medical tape, etc. While wasting money or effort is possible even if you visit a doctor, you will know that you are not getting a weak medication that will not work for you and more importantly increases the odds of being correctly diagnosed and treated rather than trying to diagnose or treat yourself incorrectly.

There are a number of types of dermatitis and/or eczema and you could actually buy the wrong OTC treatment even if you know you have dermatitis but not the specific type. Creating even more frustration, many OTC products contain the very ingredients that CAUSE eczema and dermatitis! I would not recommend trying to treat eczema or dermatitis at home without a doctor's help because it's not uncommon to find you are only spending money, wasting your time and efforts and not getting relief. You may also be treating something you don't even have.

Increasingly, knowledgeable and experienced doctors and researchers believe that dermatitis/eczema is related to immune system issues which may help create better treatments for it. Unfortunately, as with many ailments, stress can make eczema/dermatitis worse in some individuals. If you cannot find a trigger, don't continually waste great amounts of time and effort continually looking for one or several causes and treat the symptoms instead.

Sadly, the causes of your eczema or dermatitis flares can actually grow in number or change to things that you were previously not reacting to. The immune system is frequently involved in eczema and dermatitis but not always. Trial and error is common even with expert doctors on your side because each person's body is different and each person is exposed to a combination of different things. Knowing this is frustrating but it is reality. Keep lines of communication open with your doctors, ask about clinical research trials if you are open to them, ask about treatments that may be better able to help you manage or rid yourself of the rashes and itching. If your treatments aren't working or giving you bad side effects speak up.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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