How to Treat Eczema for African-Americans

Eczema is a dermatological condition that causes itchy red patches on the skin and is sometimes referred to as dermatitis. Eczema is most commonly found in children, but it can affect adults. Dr. Susan Taylor's notes that eczema is common in people with brown skin and is thought to be the second-most common skin condition to affect African-Americans. While there isn't a cure for eczema, it is possible to minimize the effects of the condition.

Eczema Dermatitis on front and back of hands. Credit: Getty Images

Step 1

Bathe or shower for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time if the water is any hotter than lukewarm. If you are prone to eczema on the hands, use lukewarm water when you hand-wash dishes.

Step 2

Rinse your skin with cool water after you workout, sweat or come in contact with a possible trigger. If you come into contact with something that will trigger a strong reaction, you can wash the area with a gentle soap and rinse well.

Step 3

Place a cool compress over the affected skin. To make the compress, dip a washcloth in cool water and wring it out slightly. This will help to control inflammation and might help alleviate itching.

Step 4

Apply an over-the-counter anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Apply these creams only when absolutely necessary, as they can bleach or discolor dark skin. Cover the area if necessary to prevent yourself from scratching.

Step 5

Moisturize your skin with a heavy cream or oil moisturizer that is hypoallergenic. It should contain no dyes or perfumes.

Step 6

Take an oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine, to help control itching. Many of these products will make you sleepy, so take them before bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Gentle soap

  • Washcloth

  • Anti-itch cream

  • Moisturizer

  • Diphenhydramine


Stay away from known triggers. While triggers vary from one person to another, some common triggers include sweat, cigarette smoke, stress, soaps and detergents — especially those with fragrances -- wool and man-made fabrics, dust or sand, and hot showers or baths. If you are unsure of your triggers, keep a journal of what possible irritants you are around each day. When you have a flare-up, you can look at the journal to see what you have been around.


Visit a dermatologist for prescription treatments if self-treatment measures don’t work. The dermatologist might prescribe corticosteroids, immunomodulators and antibiotics to help control the eczema.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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