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September 23, 2020
A common side effect of eczema is it comes with a strong urge to itch. Nearly everyone with eczema will tell you that this is the worst thing about this condition.
Worse still, this urge to itch never seems to go away and is usually so strong that you will find yourself scratching unknowingly. Repeatedly scratching your eczema rashes leads to cracking or bleeding, which leaves you with open wounds and, eventually, eczema scars.
This itch-scratch cycle is self-perpetuating. When you itch, you feel like scratching, and when you scratch, the body releases inflammatory mediators, which make you itch even more. This leads to a never-ending itch-scratch cycle. The result? Your body is left with unsightly eczema flare-ups and scars.
Do Eczema Scars Go Away?
The answer to this question depends on how severe the scars are. It is possible to eliminate light scars over time if the right treatment routine is followed. However, if the scars are deep and dark, getting rid of them is nearly impossible. Fortunately, there are treatment options that could be used to lighten the scars or even conceal them.
Prevention is always better than cure. So before we get to the treatment of eczema, it is crucial to understand how you can reduce the itching and possibly prevent new scars.
How To Reduce Itching And Prevent New Scars
The best thing you can do is to stop scratching. But we all know that it is tough for anyone suffering from eczema. Although it is impossible to stop itching permanently, there are a few ways to reduce its severity.
1. Cooling the Itchy Area
Instead of scratching your skin every time you itch, skin-care experts advise that you try cooling the itchy area using ice-cube or cold compression. This will help you to break the vicious itch-scratch cycle.
Also, avoid showering with hot water because, although it might feel good on your skin, it can make your eczema worse by enhancing the release of itch-inducing compounds. The solution is to use cold or lukewarm water, which is good for sensitive skin.
2. Habit Reversal
Because of the temporary relief you get whenever you scratch yourself, you develop the habit of scratching every time you feel the urge to itch. Fortunately, there is a psychological technique you can use to disrupt this itch-scratch habit.
It involves recognizing or catching yourself whenever you feel the urge to itch and then deliberately doing something different to distract yourself. Also, you can train yourself to resist the temptation to scratch your eczema. Habit reversal is a very effective itch management strategy in people with eczema.
3. Identify and Eliminate the Itching Triggers
Do you know what triggers your itching? This is very important in managing eczema and preventing itching. While in most people, it is an underlying genetic issue that causes the eczema itch, certain things that make the problem worse. The most common include allergens like dust or pollen, fabrics like fur, certain skincare products or detergents, and even heat or cold. Once you know what causes or heightens the scratching, keep off such things.
4. Moisturize your Skin After Showering and Before Bed
After bathing, it is vital to apply a generous amount of moisturizer to repair the skin's barrier and keep it hydrated. Remember to also do this before going to bed, as this will help to soothe your skin and reduce itching severity.
When choosing a moisturizer, avoid any thin lotions and instead go for an eczema cream or ointment because they are more effective than lotions. Also, choose moisturizers with words like "barrier cream" and "skin repair" on the label.
Ensure that the moisturizer you're using is free of alcohol, dyes, and perfumes as they can irritate the skin. If you are on a budget, petroleum jelly works just fine.
5. Keeping Your Nails Short
As we observed earlier, eczema scars are caused by repeated scratching. If your nails are long, they will create a lot of skin damage when scratching the skin. If cutting your nails is impossible, you can consider wearing gloves to keep yourself from scratching.
6. Light Therapy
If your itch is persistent and you can’t stop scratching, then you can consider light therapy. Light therapy reduces itching by using ultraviolet light to treat the inflammatory cells. This is very effective, but it takes time. You might be required to attend about three sessions in a week for months, but the results will become evident after a month
As noted earlier, depending on your scars’ severity, you can either eliminate them or improve their appearance. There are different ways of going about this. We will start by exploring how to treat eczema scars using natural remedies readily available at home before moving on to medical alternatives.
1. Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal isn’t just a breakfast food; it can work magic on your eczema scars as well. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation, soothe irritation, and repair scarred skin. It helps keep the skin moisturized and even removes any dead skin cells leaving your skin looking rejuvenated.
Simply prepare a warm oatmeal bath and soak your body for about 30 minutes daily. After your bath, you can apply an oatmeal-based lotion for faster results.
2. Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is known for its unique healing properties. It is rich in vitamins and contains hydrating properties that soften your skin and reduce scarring. Simply lather your body with raw cocoa butter daily in the morning and evening, and your scars will fade with time.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is excellent for lightening dark scars. It contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which help reduce irritation and reduce scar appearance severity. Aloe vera also boosts the collagen content in the body, which helps to heal wounds. You can extract the aloe juice straight from the plant or buy it as Aloe Vera Gel.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you do not mind the strong smell, this is also an effective remedy for eczema scars. It contains vitamins and nutrients that help to regenerate skin cells. It also works as an antibiotic and exfoliant and reduces scars by removing dead skin. Simply mix it with water, dab the solution on your skin and leave it for a few minutes. Keep repeating this process daily, and the scars will fade gradually.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is perfect for lightening and brightening areas that have been scarred or darkened by eczema. Because it is high in vitamin C, it speeds up new skin cells’ production while the acidity helps in lightening dark spots. Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice onto the scarred area twice a day and leave it on for up to 15 minutes, and your scars will fade over time.
Medical Remedies For Eczema Scarring
1. Using Silicone Gel or Sheets
Silicone gel technology is a clinically-proven way of treating eczema scars. The silicone gel or silicone sheets help to flatten and fade scars and will work even on old scars that have been there for years. Silicone gel is ideal for scars on visible parts of the body, while silicon sheets are used for parts of the body covered by clothing.
And the process is straightforward; simply put the silicone gel or sheet over the scar and leave it on for at least 12 hours. This should be done for at least three months without fail. Silicone products are readily available at most pharmacies and drug stores.
2. Skin-healing Creams
Skin-healing creams can help reduce visible scars and repair damaged skin. They are usually just moisturizers that have vitamins and antioxidants. You do not need a prescription for these.
However, a cream for eczema scars that contain calcineurin inhibitors is only available with a dermatologist’s prescription. It should only be used when all the other treatment options have been explored
3. Pressure Dressing
This is for those who have severe scars. In such a case, your dermatologist or specialist will use a stretchable cloth to cover an existing scar to improve its appearance.
This dressing is usually worn for up to 12 months, and you are supposed to have it on during this entire duration. You can complement it with silicone gels or sheets for better results.
4. Laser Resurfacing
This involves the use of laser therapy to improve the appearance of your eczema scars. It might involve re-surfacing the scarred area to flatten the scars making them less visible.
This treatment option should only be considered as a last resort. Eczema scar removal surgery involves removing scars that may be raised off the skin. This might leave you with another temporary scar that could take months to clear.
Scarring is an adverse effect of eczema scratch. While there are ways to prevent eczema scars like not scratching, anyone with eczema will tell that scratching is nearly impossible.
This piece offers useful information on how to reduce or eliminate eczema scars. Try these medical treatments and natural remedies to eliminate scars or reduce the scarring’s severity and improve skin appearance. Check the results for eczema scars before and after treatment. If you have any concerns, ask your dermatologist for further advice.
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