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Over the Counter Products for Eczema

Over the Counter Products for Eczema Over the Counter Products for Eczema

Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis and is the most common form of skin condition or disease. It can be caused by an allergen, either eaten or environmental, hereditary, underlying infection or stress and emotional state. Many things can be done to help reduce or eliminate eczema. Often, a combination of approaches works better rather than one treatment on its own. Since there can be so many causes of eczema, it is helpful to consult a dermatologist to rule out any infectious skin conditions.


With any skin condition, it is important to keep your skin from drying out. The most simple way to do this is by putting a thin layer of petroleum jelly over the effected skin. This will keep the skin from losing moisture, especially in winter when the air tends to be drier. In areas of more humidity lotions like Eucerin, Aquaphor, Lubriderm and Albolene will be helpful.

Check the ingredients on any lotions you use for lanolin products, which are often irritating to the skin. Simple emollients can also be helpful and cost effective. The downside is that emollients have to be applied multiple times a day to be effective. Emollients consist of oils, soap alternatives, washes, shower gels or moisturizers that work to smooth sooth and hydrate the skin.

Topical Treatment

The Dermatology Research Institute in Germany approves of the use of witch hazel extract cream (hamamelis distillate cream) as an approved treatment for eczema. In the United States, dermatologists are more likely to recommend 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, a mild steroid available over the counter, over witch hazel. An often-referenced study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmocology in March of 1995, compared the use of witch hazel (hamamelis) to hydrocortisone. The results found both creams to be effective, just that hydrocortisone was more effective.

Other products that work to reduce inflammation and the histamine reaction with in the skin are helpful. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is useful either topically or taken internally although oral licorice has side effects of raising blood pressure and has other health risks when used more than four to six weeks. Another safe topical extract is 18 percent forskolin (a member of the mint family). It has been shown to decrease the histamine reaction in the skin, which in turn decreases the redness, itching and flaking. Additionally, zinc oxide paste applied to the lesions can help to decrease the itching.


The goal of the supplements is to help decrease inflammation. This can also be achieved with an anti-inflammatory diet. Certain essential fatty acids have shown to be helpful with anti-inflammatory actions. Oils such as evening primrose, borage and flaxseed oils have proven to be helpful in doses of two to three 60 mg capsules daily until improvement is observed. The only side effect reported with this much oil supplementation is indigestion. Fish oils also have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Therapeutic doses are upwards of 10 grams a day for one month then reduced to one gram a day. Again, indigestion was the most commonly reported side effect.

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