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What treatments do dermatologists recommend for eczema?

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Quick Answer

Dermatologists prescribe a range of eczema treatments depending on severity, including corticosteroid creams and ointments, calcineurin inhibitor creams, antibiotics, antihistamines, and oral or injected corticosteroids, according to the Mayo Clinic. Home remedies, such as over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams, warm baths, and use of a plain moisturizer, are also frequently recommended.

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Full Answer

For home treatment of milder cases of eczema, or atopic dermatitis, the Mayo Clinic recommends a variety of possible treatments to control itching, including oral antihistimines such as Zyrtec or Benadryl. Other approaches include using a plain moisturizer at least twice daily; taking warm baths with oatmeal to soothe skin; and using a humidifier to add moisture to the air at home. Mayo Clinic also advises people with eczema to avoid scratching, using scented or dyed soaps, and wearing wool or other scratchy clothing.

For more severe eczema, a dermatologist is likely to prescribe corticosteroid cream or ointment as a first-line treatment, reports Mayo Clinic. He may also prescribe an antibiotic if infection or open sores are present, and an antihistamine if itching is severe. If the eczema does not respond to these treatments, the next steps may include calcineurin inhibitor creams, such as acrolimus or pimecrolimus, which are prescription-only and affect the immune system; an oral corticosteriod such as prednisone; or an injected corticosteroid.

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