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Treating the Incurable Eczema

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash


When I was first diagnosed with eczema a few months ago, which included welts that covered my ankles and made me feel like I couldn’t wear cute skirts for the rest of my life, I was terrified by one word: chronic. 


Eczema, which is medically and typically known as atopic dermatitis, doesn’t have any cures. Instead, I’m left to scratch itchy skin in my sleep and develop infections from said scratching that require antibiotics. And I’m not alone.


According to WebMD, over 31 million people have eczema in the United States. It affects more than 7% of people; however, there are a few forms of eczema. There’s atopic dermatitis, which appears to be the most common form. However, there’s also contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, neurodermatitis and other types that can affect people over the course of their lives. 


People with eczema deal with rashes and dry patches that get worse with itching. This seems impossible to avoid when it’s all you can think about during a flare-up, which can be irritating and affect how people feel about themselves. 


The reality is I’m in my early 20s, and I have a skin condition that will probably affect my self-esteem for the rest of my life. Yet, I have options, and other people with eczema do, too. 


Even though eczema cannot be cured and flare-ups may happen again, according to the Mayo Clinic, treatment starts with moisturizing. These can be products that are specifically geared toward people with eczema, such as oat-enriched lotions, or others that people like to use. However, it’s extremely important that the lotions are fragrance-free. 


The National Eczema Association wrote that there are “many types of common moisturizers that aren’t good at helping control your eczema and may even make it flare or get worse.” 


There are also ointments and other medicated skin treatments for eczema, including hydrocortisone, which is a steroid that can help with itching. This one can be particularly helpful because there are over-the-counter options, but people with eczema should speak to their doctor or dermatologist to decide what treatments are best for them. 

More treatments are added all the time, too, such as antibiotic pills that help with inflammation, injectable medication and light therapy.


Although eczema flare-ups can make people feel like they will always have their welts, cracked skin and itchy patches forever, it’s possible to improve the condition with the right medications and ointments prescribed by doctors. Eczema is a difficult chronic condition because people can see the symptoms, but remember to give yourself some grace.


Symptoms and treatments work differently for everyone within chronic conditions, and you’re not doing anything wrong if you’re still struggling with eczema.    

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