Atopic eczema however usually has no known cause meaning that dealing with it from the inside out is rarely an option. Treatment for eczema therefore normally concentrates on the relief of the symptoms. It is important to obtain medical help as there are many highly effective products available. One of the most effective long-term treatments is the use of emollients. These are medical moisturisers but should not be confused with cosmetic moisturisers. These are available as gels, creams, ointments and lotions. Each type has advantages and disadvantages. Most people find that lightweight creams are best for all-day use. Gels and ointments are sometimes more effective but can be rather greasy so are considered best for night-time use. Lotions are generally less concentrated but are the best choice for hair-covered areas. Emollients can help to keep the skin soft thereby reducing itchiness and the tendency to flake or crack. In addition to emollients, topical steroids are frequently employed to deal with periods of flare-up and assist rapid healing. Eczema skin is also very vulnerable to infection especially bacterial with staphylococcus aureus posing a particular threat. Fungal and viral infections can also occur and medical treatments to fight infections may occasionally be required. Effective washing and bathing are essential and soaps and bubble-baths should be avoided due to their skin drying properties. Special emollient bath and shower products are available. Severe cases of eczema may require further more advanced treatment and a dermatologist may provide a course of ultraviolet light therapy. A recent development for use in cases involving the immune system is the application of topical immunomodulators to reduce the appearance of skin lesions. Many eczema sufferers also prefer to try complimentary therapies sometimes with great success but this is very much a matter of trial and error and of course great care must be taken to ensure that only top quality products from reputable sources are used.
Occlusive therapy is highly effective. Apply the topical steroids mentioned above under subacute eczema and cover with a plastic wrap such as Saran wrap. The plastic dressing does not have to be airtight. Secure the dressing with tape on either end. A sock will hold the plastic dressing against a foot. The dressing may stay on for 2 hours or overnight. Remove the dressing and apply an emollient or more medication. It is not necessary to wash the skin each time a plastic dressing is applied. The appearance of pustules indicates a secondary infection. Stop treatment and prescribe topical or oral antibiotics for this side effect of occlusive therapy.