If you are looking for a permanent cure for eczema, you might have to be disappointed.
It is a skin condition which is treatable if you can get your hands on the best over-the-counter eczema cream in 2019, more of which we will discuss shortly.
But, let’s us first provide you with some information on what eczema is. That being said, we feel it prudent to mention that it is a rather common condition and thus, is nothing that you need to be embarrassed about.
Eczema basically refers to an itchy, red rash.
The rash tends to appear all over the body. Most people develop a rash on their elbows or the region behind the knees.
Babies develop eczema on their faces, especially cheeks and chin. Scalp, trunk, outer arms, and legs are also the areas which can be affected by eczema. Children and adults commonly have eczema on their neck, wrists, ankles and areas that bend such as the inner elbow and knee.
Eczema is usually diagnosed very early in life. As children grow older, the symptoms of eczema tend to grow less severe. In rare cases, the condition can manifest in adulthood.
The rash of this skin condition differs from case to case. The appearance of the rash, as well as its severity, might differ.
Eczema is a condition which is well known for the intense itch that it causes, and people with eczema tend to have dry and sensitive skin.
Sometimes, the itch caused by eczema can be so severe that you might scratch the skin till it bleeds.
This can further worsen the rash and lead to inflammation and more itching. This situation is referred to as the itch-scratch cycle.
An eczema sufferer can only say as to how tough and painful it is to find a treatment that can ensure genuinely lastingly relief from this common skin condition. For many of these patients, the quick treatment is to buy over-the-counter creams or lotions as they can relieve a variety of skin conditions.
Unfortunately, there are many brands and options available on the market, it is quite hard to choose which eczema cream that works well for you. So to save you time and money, we’ve gathered a list of 5 eczema creams that we strongly believe to be the best on the market.
5 Best Over the Counter Eczema Cream Reviews 2019
What are the Causes of Eczema?
Here is some bad news: not even doctors and dermatologists know the exact cause of eczema! But with ongoing research, we are close to the definite cause of this skin condition characterized by skin patches that become inflamed and become red, itchy and even cracked.
Currently, we have to be content with some of the causes of eczema like genetics, abnormalities in the functioning of the immune system, or environmental factors. Eczema could also be the result of defects in the skin while some dermatologists also believe that eczema results from activities that increase the skin’s sensitivity.
1 – Skin Defects
Skin defects have a genetic link, and they are responsible for some cases of eczema. The genetic abnormalities that cause eczema result from a defect in the filagrin protein located in the basal layer of the skin.
The defective protein causes an abnormality on the skin barrier affecting the normal function of the barrier. Moisture is let out, and germs (environmental agents) get into the skin causing activation of the immune system. An activated immune system causes inflammation of the ski n around that area resulting in irritated skin.
Also, regarding skin defects, the skin loses its moisture retaining abilities drying out easily making the skin susceptible to infections.
2 – Environmental causes
Most dermatologists recognize that the environment plays a big role in the development of eczema. Some of the environmental factors that trigger eczema include detergents, allergens, foods, dust, and animal dander.
3 – Genetics
If you have eczema, your child may also get eczema if they have a genetic predisposition.
It is worth mentioning that genetics and interaction with environmental factors are the primary cause of eczema.
The Symptoms of Eczema
Eczema doesn’t look the same for everyone because most sufferers have different causative agents. Eczema in children looks different from eczema seen in adults, and you will notice that your adult eczema appears at a different part of your body from your childhood eczema.
The difference is also seen in the severity of the condition. Some individuals have it severe, and they get extremely inflamed skin, but others get moderate eczema with minimum inflammation.
The main symptoms of eczema include:
Eczema symptoms may vary depending on the type of eczema.
Infantile eczema – it starts in a child’s first six months, and it is characterized by a red itchy rash. It gets better with age.
Under these three types of eczema, there are ten specific types of eczema. They include atopic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, contact dermatitis, hand eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, Xerotic (dry skin) eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, seborrheic dermatitis, irritant dermatitis, and nummular eczema.
Types of Eczema
There are different types of eczema. The condition has been categorized based on etiology along with the type of rash that develops. Let us provide you with brief information about the various types of the skin condition.
1 – Atopic eczema
This refers to eczema which has a genetic predisposition. In this case, the immune system tends to hyper-react to stimulants which are not harmful. These could include environmental factors which are present all around us such as soap or dust mites. They make the skin inflamed and stimulate itching.
2 – Contact eczema
This is referred to eczema which occurs as a result of direct contact with the allergens or irritants present in the environment. It is one of the most common occupational skin disease. Common sites affected are the areas of the body which are exposed such as hands and face.
3 – Seborrheic eczema
This refers to the rash which develops in the areas enriched with sebaceous glands. These include the scalp and sides of the nose. In adults, the rash tends to develop first on the scalp in the form of dandruff which then gradually progresses to redness, irritation, and scaling. As inflammation develops on the scalp, the condition may spread down to the face and neck. Infantile seborrheic eczema is seen in infants who are younger than one year. It tends to develop between two weeks to six months after birth and commonly affects the scalp. Other areas such as the face, ears, neck and flexural folds may be affected as well.
4 – Discoid eczema
It is also known as nummular dermatitis and is usually seen in adults who have dry skin. It is rare for children and teenagers to develop this condition. The rash has a rather distinguished appearance with coin-shaped disks present. The rash usually first appears on the lower legs, trunk and forearm and is slightly bumpy in the beginning. Gradually, the patches begin to ooze, following which they can become itchy, crusted and infected. As the surface becomes scaly, the center of the discs clear and the skin becomes dry and flaky.
5 – Dyshidrotic eczema
It is a blistering form of eczema. The rash is restricted to the hands and feet.
6 – Asteatotic eczema
This condition affects people over the age of 60 years. The condition is associated with a decrease in the oil on the skin surface due to low humidity or over cleansing. It initially develops on the skin with a characteristic crazy-paving appearance.
What’s the Difference Between Eczema & Atopic Dermatitis?
We often hear about eczema and dermatitis then go ahead and treat the two terms differently yet, they mean the same thing. Eczema is the general term for skin inflammations, and the inflammations go by the name dermatitis.
Like any inflammation, inflammation from eczema causes redness and itching. The skin may peel or get blisters.
The exact cause is shrouded in mystery but, the inflammation and itchiness result when the immune system goes into overdrive.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin inflammation which starts in childhood, within the first six months of life and your child may have it too. It tends to improve or worsen with age. Atopic dermatitis is part of the atopic triad that includes other allergic conditions like asthma and hay fever/ allergic rhinitis. It is hereditary.
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis include dry, scaly and itchy skin. There is also redness, cracks behind the ears, rashes on cheeks, legs or arms and open crusted/ weepy sores.
Atopic dermatitis is, therefore, a type of eczema.
What are Eczema Triggers?
As a skin condition that causes reddening, itching, burning, scaling and peeling of the skin, you have to be aware of the things that make the condition worse. What are your eczema triggers?
Unfortunately, almost everything in the environment can cause a flare when you are super sensitive. But, avoiding the triggers is important for your treatment plan.
Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
- Allergens: pets, pollens, dust mites, dandruff, and mold
- Irritants such as detergents, soaps, shampoos, disinfectants may cause eczema by disrupting the skin’s normal pH.
- Cosmetics contain alcohol, preservatives, lanolin, and perfumes. These components cause skin breakouts for most people yet finding cosmetics without these irritants is close to impossible.
- Foods like eggs, dairy products, soy products, nuts, wheat, juices from fresh fruits and some vegetables.
- Hot and cold temperatures – fluctuation in temperature, high/cold weather, high/low humidity and perspiration from working out could cause eczema. Microbes like Staph bacteria, viruses and some forms of fungi.
- Hormones – women with eczema-ridden skin can blame hormones for the breakouts. Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy and at a certain time in the menstrual cycle may cause eczema.
- Stress – though stress doesn’t cause eczema, it worsens the symptoms of eczema.
- Fabrics – some synthetic fabrics or wool cause skin irritation and eczema.
- Cigarette smoke – did you know that tobacco smoke can exacerbate the symptoms of eczema?
What Are the Treatments for Eczema?
As mentioned before, it is not possible to cure eczema completely. However, the condition can be managed if you make use of the best lotion for eczema that you can find.
There are some other modes of treatments that can prove to be beneficial as well. For one thing, you need to realize that good hygiene would play an integral role in ensuring that your eczema is controlled.
For people who have a milder version of the disease, skin care routine is all that is needed to manage the condition. Thus, before making use of any other treatment, you need to ensure that you maintain good hygiene.
Treatment of eczema can be categorized into two main parts. These include non-drug treatments and pharmacological treatments.
Using mild soap and moisturizer is quite beneficial with regards to the treatment of the condition. Mild soaps ensure that your skin does not dry.
There are gentle soaps available which will provide you with the same effect. Moisturizer will ensure that your skin retains its natural moisture and should be applied immediately following a shower.
People who have severe eczema will find that taking baths with a small amount of bleach added to the water will benefit them as the bleach will assist in killing the bacteria that are present on the skin. Short warm showers should be taken by those suffering from eczema. Long showers can dry out your skin.
Stress is also said to lead to an increase in the symptoms of eczema. Thus, you should strive to ensure that you do not take too much stress. Regular exercises along with meditation techniques can prove to be beneficial in this regard.
Humidifiers also prove to be a good treatment for eczema. Let us now move on to discussing some pharmacological treatments for the condition.
Hydrocortisone is said to be highly beneficial for eczema. You can easily purchase hydrocortisone cream over the counter. You should strive to ensure that you make use of only the high-quality eczema cream available in the market.
Oral antihistamines can also help relieve the symptoms of eczema. There are certain side effects that you might have to face in case of these medications such as drowsiness. However, due to the drowsiness, itching at night may be reduced.
When other treatment options do not show any result, your doctor may prescribe you oral corticosteroids. While taking these medications, it is important to religiously abide by the instructions given by the doctor.
Ultraviolet therapy may benefit those suffering from severe eczema.
Immunosuppressants are also an option used when all other treatment methods have failed. Another option is that of immunomodulators. These are creams which help treat eczema by controlling inflammation and thus, reducing the reaction of the immune system.
However, these medications are not to be used for long durations. There are prescription-strength moisturizers available as well, which can replace the damaged barrier of the skin.
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis & Eczema
There are numerous forms of treatment for eczema, but most dermatologists prescribe topical steroids. This eczema treatment helps in controlling flare ups. Unfortunately, you can’t use steroids for a long time because they have detrimental side effects.
Newer prescriptions for atopic eczema are immunosuppressive. Unfortunately, they lower a patient’s ability to fight off infections. The topical immunosuppressive medications have a Calcineurin inhibitor. The inhibitor inhibits the action of calcineurin, the enzyme that activates T-Cells of the Immune system. A topical calcineurin inhibitor is, therefore, an immunosuppressant effective for atopic dermatitis.
Colloidal oatmeal is the other form of OTC medication for treatment and management of atopic dermatitis. It is a FDA-approved ointment that calms the skin and reduces most symptoms of eczema. For prevention of dry skin, you may want to get a topical emollient.
For eczema relief and relief of symptoms, your dermatologist may prescribe an antihistamine. You can only use antibiotics when you have an infection.
For management of eczema, avoid triggers by:
- Cleaning beddings weekly using hot water.
- Cleaning the house at least once every week.
- Turn down the heat.
- Be choosy about the detergents you use and go for the neutral pH detergents.
- Relax to lower your stress levels.
- For atopic dermatitis, watch what you eat and avoid possible allergens.
- Avoid pollen by staying indoors if you can or washing up immediately you get to the house.
- To prevent the skin from drying, keep a moisturizing ointment close. You should also try using a humidifier to prevent the skin from drying.
How Is Eczema Diagnosed?
It isn’t easy to diagnose eczema, but with a dermatologist’s help, you or your child will receive the right treatment.
To diagnose eczema, your doctor or the dermatologist takes a look at the skin then talks with you about your health history and your symptoms. In most cases, the doctors want to know if allergies and rashes run in your family. This is the diagnosis for atopic dermatitis eczema.
If you suspect that food allergy is responsible for your child’s rash, let the doctor know, they will help you identify the potential food allergies. Eczema in children almost always comes from food.
1 – Diagnosis of Allergic Eczema
After examining your skin and getting information about your medical history, the doctor will carry out tests if they suspect a case of allergic eczema. The most common test is the patch test, also called the epicutaneous test.
For this test, patches containing common allergens are put on your back, and they remain in place for 48 hours. The patches are then removed, and your doctor looks for any symptom of an allergic reaction. Your doctor will also ask you to check your skin after another 48 hours in case you have a delayed allergic reaction.
2 – Biopsy
In case a doctor still suspects a case of allergic eczema even after the patch test results, a lesion biopsy is done. The lesion biopsy will help in determining the underlying cause of eczema and if there is a health condition responsible for the skin condition. For a biopsy, the doctor removes a small sample of the affected skin which goes to the laboratory for testing.
What Are the Benefits of Using Eczema Cream?
There are quite a few benefits that you will stand to gain if you manage to find the top-notch eczema cream. Among the various treatment options that are present for eczema, lotions and ointments are said to be the most effective.
Let us take a look at some of the benefits that these lotions have to offer.
- Moisturizing for Dry Skin
One of the triggering factors of eczema is dry skin. With lotions, adequate moisture is provided to the skin. As a result, the symptoms of eczema have fewer chances of developing. Furthermore, using a moisturizer frequently would prove to be beneficial for the hygiene of your skin.
- Protection for Skin
There are certain stimulants of eczema such as dust mites and pollen grains. They come in contact with the skin and due to the defective skin barrier, lead to the symptoms of eczema.
By making use of a lotion, you form a barrier between your skin and the environment. Thus, you would not have to worry about the irritants and other harmful materials coming in direct contact with the skin.
As a result, the symptoms of eczema will be kept at bay.
- Control Bacteria
Bacteria can aggravate the symptoms of eczema. The antimicrobial properties present in these lotions ensure that the bacteria which are present on the surface of the skin are killed off and thus, the symptoms of eczema are controlled.
- Heath Issue
The lotions are topical and would not pose any harm to your health. The other pharmacological treatments for eczema have certain side effects that you might have to be wary of, and they might lead to problems.
However, this is not an issue that you will have to face with lotions.
- Easy to Use
The lotions for eczema are quite easy to use and are a convenient option. You would not have to be worried about this treatment coming in the way of your work. A little bit of time is all that would be required.
They are available in the market with ease, so you would not have to go through any trouble for the purpose of purchasing them. Some of them are available over the counter, while for others, you would need a prescription.
They are an economical option. You will find that the lotion for eczema is not very expensive. Furthermore, they last for quite some time, so you would not have to worry about purchasing them now and again.
The lotions provide you with long lasting effects. It is due to this reason that it is advised to make use of thick lotions. They form a thicker protective barrier and their effects last longer.
Thus, it is apparent that if you decide to make use of eczema lotion, you will not regret your decision. There are very rare and severe cases in which the lotions do not work and an alternative treatment needs to be sought.
On the whole, it offers you a safe and convenient method of getting rid of the symptoms of eczema.
How to Choose a Good Eczema Cream
Often, when you are wondering about how to cure eczema, the most likely answer that you would get from everywhere is making use of a cream or lotion. Among the various remedies for eczema that are present, this one is said to be the most effective.
However, to ensure that you attain the maximum benefit out of this mode of treatment, you need to get your hands on the high-quality eczema cream which is available on the market. To make this certain, there are certain features that you ought to look out for in the lotion.
- Thicker consistency
On the market, you will find that different lotions for eczema have different consistencies. Among these, you should opt for the one which is thick. This is due to the fact that thicker lotions tend to form a sufficient barrier on your skin, thereby keeping the bacteria and other harmful materials and irritants away from your skin.
Therefore, they prove to be more effective. Thicker lotions also tend to last for a longer duration, so you would not have to reapply the cream constantly every now and then.
- Antimicrobial properties
It is advisable that you make use of the lotions which have been provided with antimicrobial properties. This will ensure that the bacteria which worsens the symptoms of eczema are killed off.
Often, people develop allergies due to certain chemicals or ingredients present in a lotion. To ensure that this is not a problem you have to face, you should make it certain that you read the ingredients of the lotion carefully. You need to make sure that it is devoid of any ingredient which can prove to be harmful to you.
You need to ensure that the lotion you make use of is such that it would be easy to purchase. If you use a lotion which you are unable to purchase with ease, you would have to change your options frequently, which is not an advisable approach. Thus, affordability along with convenience are two important features that you ought to look for in a lotion.
- Fragrance free
The lotion needs to be applied several times in a day. Thus, you will need to head to work or attend a party with the lotion applied. If it has a smell, you will find it embarrassing to use in public. It would also affect your concentration and you would not be able to work with ease. Therefore, try to opt for a lotion that is devoid of any fragrance.
- No steroids
While steroid lotions need to be made use of in severe cases, this is something that you should only turn to when your doctor prescribes it or when the condition is too severe. At other times, it is best to use a lotion that is devoid of steroids so that you can use the lotion for long durations without any worries and without changing your choice every now and then.
- Good for the skin
You should opt for a lotion which soothes your skin and provides it with adequate moisture so that you are able to attain a lot of benefits from the lotion.
- Dermatologically recommended
When it comes to diseases and medical conditions, it is rather important that the treatment you make use of is one that has been approved by medical practitioners. Therefore, the lotion you use should be certified by a reliable medical association.
There is no denying that lotions prove to be highly effective for dealing with the symptoms of eczema. However, you need to ensure that you make the right choice.
Only then can you be confident that you will be able to get rid of the symptoms of eczema without landing yourself in any more problems. Ensuring that your lotion has all these features will make it certain that you have managed to get the right treatment for eczema which is not only effective but also safe to use and offers you a lot of convenience.
With the help of these features, you will be able to keep quite a few problems at bay.
How Do I Use and Apply Eczema Lotion?
The main purpose of the lotion is to ensure that your skin does not dry. You need to apply it to the affected area of the skin generously.
You can apply it by smoothing it into the skin along the line of your hair growth. Refrain from rubbing it in.
You also need to ensure that you do not overdo it. When you have a bath or wash a certain body part, you need to apply the lotion on the area as soon as possible.
The same needs to be done when you have had a swim. Apart from after bathing or swimming, you should also apply the lotion whenever you feel that your skin is getting dry.
How Often Should I Apply Eczema Lotion?
There is no fixed frequency with regards to the application of the lotion. It depends on a number of factors.
- What type of skin do you have?
- What sort of weather conditions do you live in?
- How severe is your eczema condition?
For those who live in dry regions, it is advisable to apply the lotion generously at least 5 to 6 times in a day. The lotion needs to be applied after every bath or wash as well.
If the weather is drier than usual, you should apply the lotion before you head out. Every time you feel your skin is drying, you should apply the lotion.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects?
On the whole, lotions for eczema are considered to be quite safe and unlikely to place your health in any danger. However, there are certain side effects that might have to be faced.
While they are not dangerous, they can be alarming if the person does not know about them beforehand.
For one thing, you might feel a stinging or burning sensation when you apply it in the beginning. This effect will improve as the treatment is continued.
Another problem that people complain of is with regards to thinning of the skin. This is a reversible problem which resolves once the application of the lotion is abandoned.
Some lotions may change the color of the skin where they are being applied. Furthermore, increased incidence of acne might have to be faced.
Hair growth in the area where the lotion is applied may also be enhanced.
Is Eczema Contagious?
Generally, eczema isn’t contagious. However, there are instances when the condition is contagious. If you have eczema caused by scabies or fungi, then it is transmissible to other people. However, these forms of eczema aren’t prevalent.
Other than these two forms of eczema, all other types of eczema aren’t contagious. You cannot catch eczema atopic dermatitis or eczema caused by an allergy.
While the exact cause of eczema remains unclear, dermatologists know that most people develop eczema from a combination of environmental factors and genes. This means that an individual’s immune system and genetic makeup determines if you get eczema or not.
If you don’t have genes that predispose you to the condition, you can’t ‘catch’ eczema. Since it has some genetic roots, eczema isn’t transmissible but passed on from one person to another.
Note that, even though it isn’t contagious, the raw and irritated skin could get infected. If the infecting agent is contagious, then you will catch eczema, even dermatitis eczema.
It is rather important that the best lotion for eczema is made use of for the purpose of treating the condition. You cannot let it be.
This is because the itching can get so severe that it can cause bleeding and rupture of the skin. The scar marks, in that case, would not go away easily.
Therefore, you need to ensure that the condition is adequately treated, lest things get worse.
Among the various treatment options, you will find creams and lotions to be more effective, and they offer you benefits in more ways than one while at the same time ensuring that you do not have to compromise your health.
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