Hi! Welcome to my blog again. In my opinion, managing eczema for our sanity is an important topic. We want to know what are the best treatment options available for this disorder. Do you know that depression is a side effect of having skin disorders? The constant itch, redness and the ugly appearance of the skin can drive them crazy.
Nowadays, in the current IT era, a lot of information is at our fingertips. We can Google for medical advises on treatments and post questions in Facebook groups. Being overwhelmed with so much information, we will have a hard time grasping the information found online. Some took the advice of ‘online experts’ on certain medical practices. I would say that it’s alright to search online for information but it is always best not to trust everything that is written. What work for others may not work for you.
Sharing On Personal Experience – Managing Eczema
I’m writing this post to share my personal experience in managing eczema. My kids had eczema and later on, I had it too. I started to develop eczema almost 3 years ago. And, I’ve done what I’ve written in the second paragraph of this post. When my kids had eczema, I’ve read about topical steroid withdrawal and it’s horror in online forums. The way it was demonised in some mothers’ group had scared me out of my wits many years ago.
After reading lots of misinformation that I found online, I quickly ban steroid, anti-histamine and any steroid containing creams prescribed by doctors. But now, I would like to say that not all steroid is bad, and there’s a way to manage it. Yes, managing it is what we should be doing instead of branding it as evil.
Is Steroid An Evil We Should Avoid?
Let’s start by discussing steroid. There were 2 incidents when my eczema patches were infected with pus. I also had a high fever because of it. I was given a prescription of an oral steroid, steroid cream and antibiotics. The infection was pretty bad as it had led to fever. But, after a course of oral antibiotics and oral steroid, the condition of the eczema patches did not improve much. To cut the story short, I opted for steroid jab. To my amazement, within the first week, the wounds healed and I was having smooth skin the next few weeks after. Only the scars remain. I was quite happy with the outcome. The eczema patch was always red and bloody, having smooth skin after so long was a relief.
Protocol For Steroid
The protocol of using steroid (either orally or topically) is to taper down and taper off. Meaning, if you start with a full dose of steroid, reduce the dosage of steroid when you are feeling better and ready. Slowly reduce the amount of steroid over time. For example, say if you have steroid injection every month, maybe you can prolong your next injection schedule at 5 or 6 weeks. Try to stretch the interval a little bit longer each time. Later, discuss with the doctor that you would like to have a half dose instead of a full dose. Always monitor your body’s reaction and condition. Remember, you need to discuss with your doctor about your treatment options.
For topical steroid application, you can taper down too. For example, if you apply the cream 2 times a day, taper down to once a day. Then, change the application frequency after eczema got used to lesser steroid contact. For instance, maybe once every 2 days, and then once every 3 days and so on. After tapering down, you can then slowly taper off. The keyword here is ‘taper down’, not stopping abruptly. The body will go into a shock if steroid treatment is stopped abruptly and hence, you’ll develop topical steroid withdrawal. Eczema will come back with a vengeance. It can be worse than what you had before.
Stop The Itch!
Now, let’s discuss anti-histamine. Skin disorder sufferers such as eczema have high histamines in their body. Most of the time, it’s not advisable to consume lots of fermented food. You can read more about food and eczema relations in my previous blog here. Scratching all over in public isn’t presentable too. Besides, it won’t look good if we are meeting with people. To stop the itch, anti-histamine comes to the rescue. I felt moody and depressed due to the constant itching. Besides, I can’t get enough rest at night. Taking drowsy anti-histamine helps to sleep better at night. It also helps to prevent unconscious scratching. Interrupted sleep affects the body long term and also our mental health. In my opinion, anti-histamine is an important element in managing eczema.
Creams and for Surface Treatment
Next, we’ll discuss topical creams. There are many types of cream available in the market. I always have a steroid, anti-fungal and antibacterial creams on standby. Whenever we scratch the skin, the wound will be exposed to bacterial and fungal infection. Of course, it’s best not to scratch, but we know the dilemma, don’t we?
To recap, in the situation where you need to use steroid and anti-histamine, so be it. In my opinion, managing eczema for your sanity is also very important. I guess, nobody wants to have a moody mad person at home. Most importantly, you know how to taper down and taper off.
To treat infected wounds, soak it in potassium permanganate solution. This is readily available in pharmacies. It is common to use this to dry out weeping sores. It is also used to soothe eczema. Generally, potassium permanganate wash is good for dermatitis and fungal infections.
Moisturise, Moisturise and Moisturise
Eczema sufferers have very dry skin as well as sensitive skin. Moisturising the skin is also very important in managing eczema. Applying lotion or oils to moisturise the skin is very crucial. Apply these as frequently as you can. Also, try to use a lotion with the minimal chemical composition you can find. Oils can be applied directly onto the skin too. Coconut oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or body butter is suitable for use. I prefer horse oil and emu oil for my skin. However, do take note on coconut oil, it’s drying for some people. I noticed that coconut oil is drying for my skin too. So, always remember to moisturise the skin all the time, as many times as possible.
Go For Non-synthetic Product
Last but not least, what is being used on the skin daily is also very important. It’s best not to use commercial soap. Commercial soap is made using cheap chemicals such as SLS, EDTA that strip off skin’s natural oils. You can read more here on the reason why natural handmade soap is the best for your skin. People with dry and sensitive skin should stay away from artificial fragrances, essential oils and foaming agents too. Products being labelled as organic doesn’t mean that it’s 100% natural and organic. Always read the label and do your research.
I hope you enjoy reading our blogs. Towards better skin tomorrow.