Topical solutions containing zinc oxide are helpful for atopic eczema, a common chronic, inflammatory and itchy skin condition. Oral zinc supplements, however, appears to not have benefits for eczema or other skin conditions, advises MedlinePlus, a website of the National Library of Medicine. Consult a qualified health care provider before treating eczema with zinc oxide.
Zinc Oxide Paste
At their EczemaNet website, the American Academy of Dermatology explains that choosing the right form of a topical solution -- cream, ointment or paste -- is important for skin benefits. A paste is an ointment containing powder, and a common paste to treat eczema contains zinc oxide powder, calcium hydroxide solution and oil. This paste is helpful for soothing inflamed skin and skin that is weeping fluid.
Topical corticosteroids can treat lichenified eczema, or skin that has thickened and toughened because of chronic scratching. Your doctor may recommend applying bandages over the corticosteroid to boost absorption of the medicine into the skin. Bandages containing ichthammol paste and zinc paste also help decrease itching and soothe inflammation. Only use bandages for eczema or over corticosteroids with your doctor's supervision, advises NetDoctor.
Oral zinc oxide supplements also are available, and may provide a wide range of health benefits, including benefits for treating acne. MedlinePlus, however, rates any oral zinc supplements as "possibly ineffective" for skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis or hair loss, as indicated by current evidence.
Topical zinc oxide generally is used as needed and applied to the entire area that needs treatment. It may leave a residue you cannot completely rub in. Some people are allergic to topical zinc oxide or to components of the solution, such as dimethicone, lanolin, oils, parabens, petroleum jelly or wax, according to Drugs.com. Signs of an allergic reaction to the solution may include hives, difficulty breathing or facial, throat or mouth swelling. Any of these symptoms calls for immediate medical attention.
- "Patient UK"; Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema; Colin Tidy; January 24, 2011
- "NetDoctor"; Treatments for Eczema; Helen Marshall; October 20, 2010
- Drugs.com: Zinc Oxide
- "EczemaNet"; Doctor, Why Are You Prescribing an Ointment? American Academy of Dermatology; 2010
- MedlinePlus: Zinc
- MedlinePlus: Lichenified