How to Get Rid of Eczema Without Steroids

Young man having itchy and dry skin problem
Use a moisturizing emollient to hydrate your skin. (Image: shih-wei/iStock/Getty Images)

Eczema is a skin inflammation that itches. Most common in children, the condition is chronic and can last into adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, affecting 10 to 20 percent of children and 1 to 3 percent of adults, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Corticosteroids, either oral or in topical creams or ointments, are the most common treatment for eczema, which has no cure. There are a variety of reasons, like allergic reactions or severe side effects, that you may need to get rid of eczema without steroids. Fortunately, there are other effective ways of preventing and treating outbreaks.

Step 1

Avoid irritants that can trigger eczema outbreaks. According to FamilyDoctor.org, these commonly include detergents and cleaning products, wool and synthetic clothing materials, aftershave, some soaps, gasoline, turpentine and other solvents. Additionally, different foods can act as triggers in some individuals. Heat, sweat and stress are other common triggers.

Step 2

Bathe in only cool or warm water, using a mild moisturizing soap. Soak for about 15 minutes and gently pat skin dry. Use a moisturizing emollient within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower to lock in hydration. The National Eczema Society recommends ointments, except for weeping eczema, for which you should use creams or lotions. It says lotions are the least effective option.

Step 3

Apply a cream to eczema to stop the itching and prevent scratching, which will further irritate the skin and worsen the condition. The Mayo Clinic recommends calamine lotion. It also recommends creams made with hydrocortisone, but be aware that these include corticosteroids.

Step 4

Take an oral antihistamine to subdue itchiness. The Mayo Clinic notes out that many, like diphenhydramine, will make you drowsy, so limit use to bedtime.

Step 5

Ask your doctor about immunomodulators. An alternative to corticosteroids for getting rid of eczema, these medications are approved for use in children over 2 years of age, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are commonly used immunomodulators, which alter the immune system to promote normal skin texture and prevent eczema flare-ups. As there is concern about the long-term effects of these medications, you should use them infrequently and only when other preventative measures and remedies don't work.

Step 6

Ask your dermatologist about phototherapy, or light therapy. Another non-steroidal eczema treatment option, phototherapy uses controlled exposure to natural or artificial light to treat skin. Light therapy can increase the risk of skin cancers and be damaging to skin long term. Whether this is a reasonable option depends on many individual factors that you should discuss with your dermatologist.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild moisturizing soap

  • Emollient

  • Calamine lotion

  • Oral antihistamine

Tip

While trying to get rid of eczema, you can use a humidifier or a cool, wet compress to hydrate skin, reduce itchiness and preventing scratching.

Warning

Scratching eczema can further irritate the condition, and it can leave breaks in the skin which are susceptible to bacterial infection. See your doctor for an antibiotic prescription to treat infections.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.