The itch that rashes.
Managing the symptoms can seem can seem daunting, but you can take control of this condition! Dermatologists recommend some changes to the daily routine, and a stepwise approach when symptoms worsen.
Maintenance (every day, always):
Apply moisturizer twice a day.
Ointment - most effective, greasy, hard to apply. Won't burn the skin if it is scratched and dry.
Creams - next most effective, thick.
Lotions - least effective, easiest to apply.
Apply the maintenance steroid cream once a week as a proactive treatment to prevent flares.
Avoid drying the skin
Shorter showers (not baths) are better.
Use cooler water, < 40° C (104° F).
Use a simple bar soap like a Dove bar - bar soaps have less chemicals than liquid soaps.
Unless the area is soiled or dirty, there are only 5 oily or smelly areas which need daily soaping. The rest of the body does not need soap! The areas which need it are: Face, Armpits, Groin, Feet, Hands
Use your steroid!
Apply the maintenance steroid to all affected areas twice a day, Monday through Friday. (Taking a break on the weekend ensures the steroid continues to be effective.)
Keep up with moisturizing, avoiding baths, etc...
Use your stronger steroid (if you have one!)
Apply stronger steroid twice a day, again Monday through Friday.
As always, keep using the moisturizer, and maintain your normal skin therapies.
Always step through the above therapies in order, never skipping steps. For instance, if the eczema seems to be getting better from a Major Flare, don't go straight back to maintenance. Instead use your Minor Flare treatments for at least a few days or a week, before going back to Maintenance. This prevents the flare from coming right back.