Eczema, also known as atopic eczema or dermatitis, is manifested by dry, scaly skin on certain areas of the body. Prevalent on the hands, neck, elbows and other areas of the skin that are prone to dryness, eczema can make you feel itchy and even cause pain. When eczema flares up, it's important to know how to get rid of it quickly so you can stop living with the discomfort and embarrassment of eczema.
Limit the contact that you have with water each day. While water can help hydrate your skin, if your skin remains wet for too long or the water is too hot, your skin can become dehydrated and chapped. Instead, bathe once a day in lukewarm water and bathe from 5 to 10 minutes only, the National Eczema Association recommends.
Apply moisturizers and ointments while your skin is still damp after enduring contact with water. Make sure that you apply ointments within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower or tub, when your skin is most likely to absorb the moisture to help heal your eczema. Keep applying moisturizer whenever your skin feels dry or chapped throughout the day, Medline Plus recommends. Slip a tube in your bag so you have some with you at all times.
Wear gloves when your skin will be in prolonged contact with hot water or the cold air, suggests FamilyDoctor.org, affiliated with the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hot water and cold air can worsen eczema symptoms, leaving your hands feeling dry and raw. Plastic kitchen gloves are a must when washing dishes, while smooth cotton gloves can help protect your hands from the cold throughout the long winter months.
Stop scratching your skin. While eczema-prone skin can be dry and itchy, constantly scratching it can leave your skin raw with open sores that are prone to infection. MayoClinic.com suggests that if you need to, wear gloves to stop the scratching or keep your fingernails clipped short so that you're less tempted to scratch and cause further damage.
Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if lifestyle changes and over-the-counter moisturizers don't seem to help your eczema symptoms. Eczema can manifest in the same ways as a multitude of other skin conditions, and it's important to get an accurate diagnosis, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Your dermatologist can also prescribe ointments and oral medications to help you manage your eczema.