Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause dry, itchy, inflamed skin that can be painful and uncomfortable.
Luckily, many types of eczema creams are available to help soothe your skin and reduce symptoms. However, the question is, how often should you apply eczema cream to get the best results?
The answer varies depending on the type of eczema cream you’re using and the severity of your eczema. Most eczema creams should be applied at least twice daily, but some may require more frequent application.
Here’s a closer look at different types of eczema creams and how often to use them.
Steroid creams are a common type of eczema treatment that contain anti-inflammatory agents called corticosteroids. While the name may seem frightening, it’s important to understand that corticosteroids are different from the androgenic steroids used by bodybuilders.
Steroids are actually a large family of hormones with different actions, and the corticosteroid group is responsible for controlling inflammation, immunity, and your body’s stress response. Because eczema occurs due to your immune system mistakenly attacking cells within your skin—either without provocation or as an overreaction to an irritant or allergen—steroid creams help soothe symptoms. As they have a local action, they help suppress inflammation in your skin without suppressing your immunity elsewhere.
Weak steroid creams are available over the counter in the US and most other countries, but a doctor or dermatologist can prescribe stronger drugs if necessary. The correct strength for you will depend on the severity of your eczema.
When using steroid creams, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully to avoid overuse or underuse. Generally, you should apply the cream once or twice a day or as directed by your doctor. If your eczema symptoms improve, you may be able to reduce the frequency of use. However, if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after a week of use, you should consult your doctor for further advice.
Non-drug treatments for eczema include emollients, moisturizers, ingredients such as salicylic acid, and natural remedies such as coconut oil and oatmeal. These treatments help soothe dry, itchy skin and provide long-lasting hydration. You can typically use these types of eczema creams as often as needed throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated and reduce itching.
If you’re using natural remedies for eczema, consider doing a patch test first to ensure you’re not allergic to the ingredients. Once you’ve determined that a particular treatment is safe for your skin, you can use it as often as directed on the package to soothe your eczema symptoms.
Some natural remedies, such as oatmeal baths, can be used daily, while others, such as essential oils, should be used sparingly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Remember to read the instructions carefully and ask your doctor for more information if you’re unsure about anything.
Combination creams are eczema creams that contain both steroid and non-steroid ingredients to provide more comprehensive treatment. These products can be used to reduce inflammation and itchiness while also moisturizing and hydrating your skin.
How often you should use combination eczema creams will depend on the specific product and your doctor’s instructions. You should usually apply the cream once or twice a day or as directed by your skincare specialist. It’s essential to follow the instructions carefully and not use the cream more frequently than recommended, as overuse can lead to side effects such as skin thinning.
Barrier creams help form a film over your skin to protect it from irritants and prevent moisture loss. These creams are especially useful for people with eczema who work with irritants such as dish soap and other cleaning agents or constantly need to expose their skin to water.
You can apply barrier creams as often as needed to protect your skin, but you should use them as a replacement for other eczema creams. It’s important to use barrier creams in combination with other eczema treatments to get the best results.
How to Apply Eczema Creams
To get the best results from your eczema cream, it’s also important to apply it correctly. Here are some tips for applying most products:
- Wash your hands before applying the cream to avoid transferring bacteria or other germs to your skin.
- Apply the cream to clean, dry skin to help it absorb better.
- Use a small amount of the product and rub it in gently with your fingertips.
- Apply the cream to all affected areas of your skin, even if they don’t appear to be inflamed or itchy.
- Wait a few minutes before dressing to allow the cream to absorb fully into your skin.
- Apply other skincare products, such as moisturizers or sunscreen, after the eczema cream to ensure they don’t prevent the active ingredients from absorbing.
By following these simple tips and using eczema cream as directed, you can soothe your skin and manage your eczema symptoms more effectively.
Skincare Routines for Eczema
In addition to using eczema creams, developing a consistent skincare routine can also help improve eczema symptoms. A skincare routine that includes gentle, non-irritating products can help keep the skin hydrated and reduce inflammation.
When choosing a skincare routine for eczema, it’s important to select fragrance-free, dye-free, and hypoallergenic products. You may also want to choose products that are specifically designed for sensitive skin or eczema-prone skin.
Your skincare routine should include cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection. When cleansing your skin, choose a gentle, non-irritating cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. After cleansing, apply your eczema cream to any affected areas of your skin. Follow up with a moisturizer to help lock in the benefits of the cream and keep your skin hydrated.
Finally, be sure to protect your skin from the sun with broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sun exposure can trigger eczema flare-ups, so sunscreen is essential every day, even during cloudy weather.
Check Your Specific Product and Follow Directions
Ultimately, how often to apply eczema cream will depend on the type of product you’re using and the severity of your eczema, although most medicated products work best when used twice daily. Non-drug treatments may be okay to apply as often as needed. Check the packaging of the product you’re using and read the instructions thoroughly because individual creams can vary in how they should be used.
If your eczema doesn’t respond, it’s important to not use a product more often than directed to try to improve the results. See your doctor in this situation, as they can prescribe a stronger treatment you can use safely to help control symptoms more effectively.