How Do You Calm Down A Flare Up Of Eczema?

Having a flare-up of eczema can be an uncomfortable and distressing experience. The itchy, red, and inflamed skin can make you feel frustrated and desperate for relief. But fear not, because in this article, we will explore some effective methods to calm down a flare-up of eczema, providing you with practical tips and remedies to soothe your skin and bring back comfort to your life. So sit back, relax, and let’s discover how you can find relief from eczema flare-ups!

Identify Triggers

Keep a Journal

Keeping a journal can be incredibly helpful in identifying the triggers that cause flare-ups of eczema. By tracking your activities, diet, and environmental factors, you can start to notice patterns and determine what may be exacerbating your symptoms. Make a note of any changes in your routine, new products you have used, or any unusual circumstances that might have contributed to a flare-up. This information can be invaluable when trying to pinpoint triggers and avoid them in the future.

Avoid Common Triggers

While everyone’s triggers may be slightly different, there are some common culprits that tend to worsen eczema symptoms. These include harsh soaps and cleansers, fragrances, certain fabrics like wool, and even stress. By identifying and avoiding these triggers, you can reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. It may take some trial and error to figure out which triggers affect you personally, but with time and observation, you can develop strategies to minimize their impact.

Consult a Dermatologist

If you are struggling to identify your triggers or find effective ways to calm your flare-ups, it may be beneficial to consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist specializes in diagnosing and treating skin conditions like eczema and can provide personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs. They can help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes skincare routines, topical medications, and lifestyle adjustments, all aimed at managing your eczema and reducing flare-ups. Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional guidance if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to best manage your eczema.

Maintain Proper Skincare

Keep Skin Moisturized

One of the most important aspects of managing eczema is keeping the skin moisturized. Dry skin can worsen itchiness and lead to further irritation. Choose a moisturizer specifically formulated for sensitive skin or eczema and apply it liberally and frequently throughout the day. Opt for thicker creams or ointments rather than lotions, as they provide better hydration and barrier protection for the skin. Moisturizing immediately after bathing or showering, when the skin is still damp, can help lock in moisture and prevent excessive dryness.

Use Mild Soaps and Cleansers

When it comes to cleansing your skin, it’s crucial to opt for mild soaps and cleansers that are fragrance-free and specifically designed for sensitive skin. Harsh soaps can strip away the skin’s natural oils, further exacerbating dryness and irritation. Look for gentle, non-irritating cleansers that are hypoallergenic and free from potential allergens. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the skin vigorously, as this can cause further irritation. Instead, opt for gentle massaging motions and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Avoid Irritating Substances

Certain substances can irritate eczema-prone skin, making flare-ups more likely. Common irritants include fragrances, dyes, and preservatives found in skincare products, laundry detergents, and even certain fabrics. Avoiding these irritants is key to preventing unnecessary flare-ups. Opt for fragrance-free and dye-free products, and consider switching to fragrance-free or gentle detergents for your clothing and bedding. Choose breathable fabrics like cotton and avoid wearing tight or scratchy clothing, as they can further irritate the skin.

Take Shorter, Lukewarm Showers

While a long, hot shower may be tempting, it can actually worsen eczema symptoms. Hot water strips away the natural oils from your skin, leaving it dry and more susceptible to irritation. Instead, opt for shorter showers using lukewarm water. Limit your bathing time to 10 minutes or less and gently pat your skin dry afterward. Avoid harsh rubbing with towels, as this can further aggravate your eczema. By adjusting your bathing routine, you can help minimize the risk of flare-ups.

Gently Pat Dry

When drying your skin, it’s important to do so gently. Instead of vigorously rubbing your skin with a towel, which can cause irritation and exacerbate eczema symptoms, pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel. This gentle approach helps retain moisture and minimizes the risk of further irritation. If your skin is particularly sensitive or prone to flare-ups, consider using a microfiber or cotton towel, as they are softer and less likely to cause friction.

Apply Topical Medications

Hydrocortisone Creams

Hydrocortisone creams are one of the most common over-the-counter treatments for eczema flare-ups. These creams contain a mild steroid that helps reduce inflammation and relieve itching. When applying hydrocortisone cream, be sure to follow the instructions provided and use it only on the affected areas of your skin. Typically, these creams are applied thin and sparingly, usually once or twice a day. If you experience any adverse reactions or if your symptoms worsen, consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance.

Prescription Steroid Creams

In more severe cases, prescription strength steroid creams may be necessary to manage eczema flare-ups. These creams contain higher concentrations of steroids than over-the-counter options and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Your dermatologist will determine the appropriate strength and duration of treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and your individual needs. It’s important to follow their instructions carefully and be aware of any potential side effects associated with prolonged steroid use.

Calcineurin Inhibitors

For individuals who prefer non-steroidal options, calcineurin inhibitors can be an alternative treatment for eczema flare-ups. These medications help suppress the immune system’s reaction, reducing inflammation and itchiness. Calcineurin inhibitors are available in both ointment and cream forms and are typically applied twice daily to affected areas. As with any medication, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided and discuss any concerns or potential side effects with your healthcare provider.

Use Wet Dressings

Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrap therapy is a technique commonly used to provide relief for severe eczema flare-ups. It involves applying a layer of moisturizer or topical medication to the affected areas of the skin, followed by a damp layer of clothing or bandages. This helps lock in moisture, allowing the skin to better absorb the medication and stay hydrated. Wet wrap therapy can be particularly beneficial at night, as it minimizes scratching and promotes healing while you sleep. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting wet wrap therapy to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your specific condition.

Wet Bandages or Clothing

If wet wrap therapy seems too involved or time-consuming, simply using wet bandages or clothing on affected areas can still provide relief. Dampen a clean cloth or bandage with cool water and apply it to the eczema-prone skin. This can help soothe itchiness and reduce inflammation. Remember to change the damp cloth or bandage regularly to maintain moisture and cleanliness. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance on using wet bandages or clothing as part of your eczema management plan.

Cool Compresses

If wet wrap therapy isn’t feasible or suitable for your needs, cool compresses can be a more convenient alternative. Soak a clean cloth in cool water, wring out the excess, and gently apply it to the affected areas. This can help alleviate itching and provide a soothing sensation. Cool compresses offer a quick and easy way to calm eczema flare-ups, especially when on-the-go or during periods of temporary relief. Remember to be gentle when applying the compress and avoid rubbing or scratching to prevent further irritation.

Take Oral Antihistamines

Consult a Doctor

When eczema flare-ups are accompanied by intense itching, taking oral antihistamines may provide some relief. However, it is important to consult a doctor before starting any new medication, as they can provide personalized advice and recommend the most suitable antihistamine for your symptoms. They will consider factors such as the severity of your eczema, potential drug interactions with other medications, and any underlying health conditions. By seeking professional guidance, you can ensure your safety and optimize the effectiveness of the antihistamine treatment.

Common Oral Antihistamines

Oral antihistamines are medications that can help reduce itching and minimize allergic reactions. There are various options available, each with its own set of benefits and potential side effects. Most of these medications are available over-the-counter, but some may require a prescription. Some commonly used oral antihistamines for eczema include cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine. These medications work by blocking the release of histamine, a compound that triggers allergic reactions and contributes to itching. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Avoid Scratching

Trim and Clean Nails

When faced with itchy skin, the instinct to scratch can be overwhelming. However, scratching can further damage the skin, increase inflammation, and prolong the healing process. To minimize the risk of scratching, ensure your nails are trimmed short and filed smooth. This will reduce the likelihood of unintentional scratching and help prevent any potential infections resulting from broken skin. Additionally, keeping your nails clean can help maintain good hygiene and minimize the contact of harmful bacteria with the affected areas.

Use Distractions and Relaxation Techniques

Finding ways to distract yourself from the urge to scratch can be incredibly beneficial in managing eczema flare-ups. Engage in activities that occupy your hands and mind, such as reading, knitting, or playing an instrument. The more preoccupied you are, the less likely you are to focus on the itchiness. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can also help reduce stress levels, which in turn can alleviate itching. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can strengthen your ability to resist scratching and promote healthier healing.

Wear Gloves

If scratching during sleep is a common issue, wearing gloves can act as a physical barrier and reduce the chances of inadvertently scratching your skin. Opt for lightweight, breathable gloves made of cotton or a soft fabric to avoid additional irritation. Ensure that the gloves fit comfortably and securely to avoid any discomfort or obstruction during sleep. While gloves can be a helpful solution in preventing scratching, it is important to address the underlying causes of the itchiness to truly manage and calm eczema flare-ups.

Manage Stress

Identify Stressors

Stress can be a significant trigger for many people with eczema, contributing to flare-ups and exacerbating symptoms. It is essential to identify the stressors in your life and develop strategies to manage and reduce them. Whether it’s work-related stress, relationship tensions, or personal pressures, recognizing what causes stress can help you take proactive steps to minimize its impact. Keep a journal, seek support from loved ones, or consider therapy to gain a better understanding of your stress triggers and how to navigate them effectively.

Practice Stress-Relieving Activities

Incorporating stress-relieving activities into your daily routine can have a profound impact on managing eczema flare-ups. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and help you unwind, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or mindfulness practices. These techniques can help lower stress hormone levels, reduce inflammation, and improve overall well-being. Find what works best for you and make it a priority to allocate time for these activities regularly. By taking steps to manage stress, you can support your body’s natural healing processes and calm your eczema flare-ups.

Seek Professional Help

If stress continues to significantly impact your quality of life and contribute to frequent eczema flare-ups, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor may be beneficial. They can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies to help you effectively manage stress and improve your overall mental well-being. Through therapy, you can gain valuable insights into the root causes of your stress and develop personalized techniques to navigate challenging situations. Remember, seeking professional help is a sign of strength and an important step towards managing stress and its impact on your eczema.

Try Natural Remedies

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal baths are a popular natural remedy for soothing irritated skin and providing relief from eczema flare-ups. Oats contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce itching, redness, and inflammation. To prepare an oatmeal bath, grind plain oats into a fine powder and sprinkle it into warm bathwater. Soak in the bath for approximately 15-20 minutes, gently pat your skin dry, and moisturize immediately afterward. Oatmeal baths can be done multiple times a week and serve as a calming and nourishing treatment for eczema-prone skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been known for its moisturizing and antibacterial properties, making it a popular natural remedy for eczema. Apply a thin layer of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil to the affected areas to keep the skin hydrated and protect against potential infections. Coconut oil can also create a barrier that helps regulate moisture and prevent excessive dryness. However, it’s important to note that while coconut oil works well for some individuals, it may not be suitable for everyone, as it can potentially worsen symptoms in certain cases. If in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various skin conditions, including eczema. Its acidic nature can help restore the skin’s pH balance and alleviate itchiness and inflammation. Dilute apple cider vinegar with water in a ratio of 1:1 and apply it to the affected areas using a cotton ball or clean cloth. Allow it to dry before rinsing it off or moisturizing. It’s important to note that undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause skin irritation, so proper dilution is crucial. If you experience any adverse reactions, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has soothing and moisturizing properties that can provide relief for eczema flare-ups. The gel extracted from aloe vera leaves can be applied directly to the affected areas to calm inflammation, reduce redness, and alleviate itching. If using fresh aloe vera gel, ensure that it is thoroughly washed and free of any potential irritants. Alternatively, opt for commercially available aloe vera gels that are specifically formulated for sensitive or eczema-prone skin. Although aloe vera is generally well-tolerated, it’s recommended to perform a patch test before using it extensively.


Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and heal eczema flare-ups. Apply a thin layer of raw, organic honey to the affected areas and leave it on for approximately 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Honey can provide relief from itching and promote wound healing. However, it’s important to note that some individuals may be allergic to honey or experience skin irritation, so it’s advisable to perform a patch test before using it as a remedy. Consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or allergic reactions.

Avoid Hot and Humid Environments

Stay in Air-Conditioned Spaces

Hot and humid environments can exacerbate eczema symptoms, as they can increase sweating and moisture on the skin. Whenever possible, stay in air-conditioned spaces, especially during the summer months or in regions with high humidity levels. Use air conditioners or fans to maintain a cool and comfortable indoor environment. This can help minimize sweating, reduce itchiness, and prevent excessive moisture accumulation on the skin. By controlling your surroundings, you can create a more eczema-friendly environment and reduce the likelihood of flare-ups.

Use a Humidifier

While hot and humid conditions should be avoided, excessively dry air can also contribute to eczema flare-ups. Using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture to the air, preventing your skin from becoming excessively dry. However, it’s important to clean and maintain the humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria, which can further irritate eczema-prone skin. Consider using a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels and adjust the humidifier settings accordingly.

Choose Breathable Clothing

The clothing you wear can also impact your eczema flare-ups, especially in hot and humid conditions. Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo. These materials allow air to circulate around your skin, minimizing sweating and reducing the risk of irritation. Avoid wearing tight or synthetic fabrics, as they can trap heat and moisture against your skin, potentially aggravating your eczema. By choosing the right clothing, you can create a more comfortable and eczema-friendly environment for your skin.

Seek Medical Advice

Persistent or Severe Flare-Ups

While home remedies and self-care strategies can be effective in managing mild to moderate eczema flare-ups, there may be instances where seeking medical advice is necessary. If your symptoms persist or worsen over time, despite following recommended treatments and lifestyle adjustments, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess your condition, determine if there are any underlying issues, and prescribe appropriate medications or interventions to help alleviate your symptoms.

Medical Intervention

In some cases, eczema flare-ups may require medical intervention beyond topical treatments and lifestyle adjustments. A dermatologist or allergist may recommend additional strategies such as phototherapy, in which the skin is exposed to controlled amounts of ultraviolet light to reduce inflammation. For severe cases, oral medications such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants may be prescribed to manage symptoms. These treatments should always be conducted under the supervision and guidance of a healthcare professional, as they can have potential side effects and require careful monitoring.

Allergic Reactions

If you suspect that your eczema flare-ups are triggered by an allergic reaction, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the specific allergen and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Allergy testing, such as patch testing or blood tests, may be conducted to identify the allergen causing your symptoms. This information will help guide further interventions, such as allergen avoidance strategies or immunotherapy. By addressing any underlying allergic reactions, you can effectively manage your eczema and minimize future flare-ups.

In conclusion, calming down a flare-up of eczema involves a multifaceted approach that includes identifying triggers, maintaining proper skincare, applying topical medications, using wet dressings, taking oral antihistamines, avoiding scratching, managing stress, trying natural remedies, avoiding hot and humid environments, and seeking medical advice when necessary. By following these comprehensive strategies and incorporating them into your daily routine, you can effectively manage your eczema and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Remember, managing eczema is a journey, and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process.