Eczema Treatments Throughout the Ages

Eczema Treatments Throughout the Ages

Jennie Lyon

Believe it or not, this is a very exciting time for eczema sufferers.

Just in the last year, there have been major breakthroughs into the reasons people get eczema, along with the development of new drug treatments that might deliver incredible results without the risks associated with topical steroids. We aren’t saying that eczema will be a problem of the past in a few years, but our fingers are crossed that these discoveries will help countless eczema children and parents with their symptoms. But even our current eczema treatment options, such as topical steroids and wet wrap therapy/Eczema Rescue Suits, are infinitely more effective than treatments in years past.

The diagnosis of “atopic dermatitis”, otherwise known as eczema, was only coined back in 1933 by two researchers, Wise and Sulzberger. That said, eczema has been a problem for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Due to terrible misunderstandings of medicine and simple biology back then, eczema was often just lumped in with other skin conditions. Not only that, the treatments were a little… let’s call them “wacky”. Or in some cases, completely insane.

As eczema is a chronic condition, many doctors would “treat” flare ups with cures that would, at best, do nothing and would, at worse, cause further damage. Once the body would naturally heal after the flare up would be over, the doctor would claim that they were “cured” and that the treatment saved them. This was obviously not a very productive way to treat eczema and propagated treatment methods that had very little actual effect on the skin.

One old-timey method of treatment might generously be compared to the trigger elimination diets of today. The theory was that skin flare ups were a result of digestive and food allergies, so the obvious treatment was to starve the patient. This had no real clinical benefit and could cause actual health issues, especially if they were literally starving small, developing children. Other treatments could involve bloodletting or laxatives to rid the body of any “impurities”. This was, of course, nonsense and did absolutely nothing to treat a case of eczema.

One of the biggest breakthroughs was in the early 1950s when doctors began using oral steroids to treat eczema. Although children treated with Cortisone showed remarkable, short-term improvement, the long-term side effects proved that this treatment couldn’t be used over time. Once topical steroids were invented in the 1970s, they were again used to extensively treat eczema until the side effects were noticed.

You also must realize that, before the discovery of antibiotics, eczema flare ups could actually be life threatening. Today, if our eczema child gets a skin infection during a terrible flare up, it can be painful, itchy, and a nightmare to treat. Back then, a simple skin infection could continue to spread throughout the body and eventually cause major health issues, or even death. Many infants with eczema who were admitted to hospitals would die because of exposure to superbacteria. With the advent of antibiotics, this fate is thankfully in the past. Unfortunately, we are continuing to see the rise of highly resistant bacteria due to the misuse of antibiotics. If your eczema child is ever prescribed an antibiotic for a skin infection, make sure they complete their entire treatment, even if the symptoms have already faded away. If the side effects are too much for them, talk to your doctor about trying another antibiotic.


The age of medicine we live in now thankfully makes pre-1950s look like the dark ages. Our understanding of eczema, the causes, and the treatments have come a long way since then. Through careful use of topical steroids, Eczema-Safe Ointments, and Eczema Clothing, such as our Eczema Rescue Suits or Eczema Gloves, we have viable treatments to help safely mitigate the effects of eczema. Hopefully we will have even more tools in the very near future! Stay tuned!

Please remember information on our blog is not meant to be medical advice or designed to replace a physician’s judgement for treatment. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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