Methods to Reduce the Itchiness of Eczema
It is the itch that can really get to you. Yes, eczema flare-ups can be painful and unpleasant to look at, but it is the constant, overriding itch that really drives you crazy. Eczema children who have mild to severe flare-ups have been known, in their sleep, to scratch until their skin is bleeding. Thankfully, there are a few easy eczema treatments to reduce, if not stop, the itch of damaged skin.
1) Don’t Scratch
This falls into the “short-term pain for long-term gain” scenario. Although it can be incredibly tempting to scratch your eczema, even a little bit, this will cause further damage and irritation to the skin. This creates a vicious cycle where scratching an itch actually makes the skin itch even more. This can be difficult advice for most adults to follow, but it can be downright impossible for eczema children who just want relief. For kids who scratch through the night, we believe that our super-soft eczema treatment gloves, or eczema rescue suits with built in hand covers, can greatly reduce any danger of this. These eczema garments are especially effective when worn over an eczema emollient such as Vaniply. Apply the Vaniply head to toe after a warm bath. Be sure to always use a cleanser that is approved by the National Eczema Association.
2) Steroid Creams
Steroid creams can be a godsend and a curse. These topical steroids (very different than anabolic steroids) provide almost magical relief from inflammation, irritation, and the itchiness of eczema. There are, however, side effects and some of them can be pretty bad, like skin thinning. What you really need to watch out for is Red Skin Syndrome (RSS). This is when your skin literally becomes dependent on the steroid cream to maintain a normal level of inflammation. When you stop using it, your skin can become incredibly painful and sensitive. Not everyone experiences this condition, but it’s still better to use steroid creams with caution. A little can go a long way!
Wet wrap therapy is one of the best ways to get relief from eczema, especially for eczema children. You basically use a moisturizing ointment and a damp eczema wrap to seal in moisture. The method is simple. First, give your eczema kid a lukewarm bath for about 15 minutes before bedtime. After they get out, pat them dry and apply whatever moisturizer is best for their skin. Then, wrap the child with a damp eczema wrap to seal in the moisture. Put a layer of dry clothes on top of the wrap, and put the child to bed. The moisture will be trapped, helping to reduce irritation and inflammation by up to 71% in some studies. There are many different kinds of eczema wraps out there, but we believe our Eczema Rescue Suits are the best. They are made from Tencel®, an incredibly soft fabric that actually has anti-itch properties. Getting an eczema wrap on a squirming, slippery, ointment-coated kid can be difficult, but getting them into the rescue suit is easy. We have a number of different kinds of eczema clothing, from gloves to sleeves, depending on the area that needs to be treated.
4) Cool Compresses
There is a reason that we put ice packs on bruises! Ice is one of the most effective anti-inflammatories on the planet and they can work wonders on eczema damaged skin. Try to avoid direct contact with ice or an ice pack as this can cause a new form of discomfort. Just take an ice pack, wrap it in a cloth, and apply it to the areas where there are flare-ups. The cold will help reduce any pain and irritation while numbing the itch. Plus, while the ice pack is applied, it will be impossible to do any absent-minded scratching. Another great way to stop the itch is putting eczema sleeves in the refrigerator and applying them cold. This is amazing relief for stubborn, itchy eczema.