Yesterday, out of the blue, I had a massive eczema flare-up. My swollen face was so dry and raw that it actually hurt to talk. All I wanted to do was dig my nails into my skin, but that would only further irritate my already tender face. I could barely even open my eyes because my eyelids were so itchy and inflamed.
When I was a baby, my parents tried a myriad of lotions, creams, prescriptions, even Chinese medicines to treat my eczema. By the time I was a teenager, I was a hot mess plagued with acne on top of the eczema (high school was NOT a pretty time). My skincare routine was debating between drying acne medication and pore-clogging cortisone cream. Luckily, over the past 10 years, I’ve found a few sure-fire remedies from the drug store to relief those pesky flare-ups:
(NEW!) CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion: It claims to relieve itch in as little as 2 minutes, and to my surprise, it totally worked! I applied a thick layer all over my face and 2 minutes later, I felt a weird tingly sensation. My face was no longer itchy, just numb! I did a little research: the main active ingredient, Pramoxine Hydrochloride, is an anesthetic that numbs the skin to block feelings of pain and itching.
Cortisone: Dabbing hydrocortisone cream directly on the eczema treats the inflammation and itchiness. Over the counter hydrocortisone usually work just fine, although there are prescription strength steroid cream for more stubborn flare-ups.
Bleach: Yes, you read that right! I learned this nifty trick from one of the many dermatologists I saw in high school. I had zero self-control and always ended up scratching my rashes and exposing my skin to nasty infections. Sometimes my skin became so weepy that my clothes would stick to the eczema, preventing it from ever healing.
I relied on either oral or topical antibiotics to treat infections until one genius dermatologist recommended a bleach bath. Just a quick 10 minute bath with 2 capfuls of bleach will help keep infections at bay – though I would suggest erring on the side of caution with the amount of bleach/frequency of baths. While too much bleach can harm your skin, it’s an effective way to get rid of an infection.
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion: Colloidal oatmeal is proven to moisturize and soothe irritated skin, so usually, I’ll slather this all over my face after applying some cortisone cream. I appreciate the light smell and texture of this fragrance-free, non-comedogenic lotion because it doesn’t exacerbate my acne.
Benedryl: Maybe it’s a little dramatic, but Benedryl is always my sure-fire way to quickly and effectively relieve itchiness and decrease inflammation. Warning, this drug puts you to sleep like no other, so don’t take it if you’re driving or have the test to study for. I’ve literally fallen asleep in the middle of a Psych midterm because of this.
*Please note that I’m only sharing my personal experience with eczema and am NOT a medical professional by any means.