Helpful Tips to Stop a Flare From Our Members

In the first of this two-part series, I compiled a list of tips and suggestions from our wonderful community members to help prevent flares of our atopic dermatitis. Now, gleaned from your comments on articles our advocates have written; questions and answers in the forums, or on our Facebook page, here are some tips that might help to moderate an existing eczema flare. I hope this list can give you some ideas to consider what you might have missed.

Tips for managing an eczema flare

Non-medication options

  • Oatmeal, bleach, or vinegar baths have all been suggested as helpful. A cooling shower is helpful for some and irritating for others.  Many have mentioned air drying instead of towelling off.
  • Wet wraps can be uncomfortable and irritating, but some indicate they make a huge difference. They are said to help rehydrate the skin and make medications soak in more effectively.
  • Coconut oil has been touted to be both the best and the worst moisturizer. Both aloe vera gel and tea tree oil have been found to be helpful.
  • Over-the-counter products such as CeraVe, Aquaphor, Uremol, and of course my old standby Aveeno have all been recommended, among many others. Others have found Honey and Collagen Dry Skin Rescue Cream worked well. DoubleBase Hydrating Gel Pump was another favorite. You can find both of these last two on Amazon if your local pharmacy doesn’t carry them.
  • Home-made remedies like Mrs. Read’s rosewater and glycerin lotion, are my favourites. Or my own facial moisturizer. Another is Bella's Blended Moisturizer used for her 5-year-old.
  • Pine tar or coal tar shampoo.
  • Epsom salts are said to be soothing.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture.

Treatment options

  • Light therapy, also called phototherapy requires regular treatments over time.
  • Dupixent is a newer treatment that has been touted to be a miracle drug. Old standbys including oral and topical steroids still top the list for some, but others going through topical steroid withdrawal have vetoed them.
  • Antihistamines work best when taken at the first sign of a problem. My allergist recommends not taking them before I go out, but rather carrying them with me to take if needed.
  • Benadryl Cooling Relief Gel, the kind you put on mosquito bites, helps some.
  • Vaseline covered with gloves or socks overnight soothes some. Watkins Medicated Ointment covered with cotton gloves is my personal favorite when my hands are split and peeling. My mother did this for me regularly when I was a child, and it still works.
  • Another great suggestion I’ve used is a bag of crushed ice wrapped in a towel to help stop the painful itch, or at least tame it a little. Alternatively, an antihistamine spray such as Benadryl Itch Spray has been recommended by a few.
  • Another recommendation is antibiotic cream if your skin has a bacterial infection, an open sore, or cracks. Or even taking oral antibiotics for a short time.
  • This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of calcineurin inhibitors and immunomodulators. Treatments that work, but with side effects of some kind.

And many many more

I know there are many more remedies for atopic dermatitis, and I hope this compilation of suggestions has given you a few ideas. If you have one (or more) that others might find useful, please share in the comments!

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