Save Your Money: Keep it Simple

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

I have heard variations of these comments many times: “Dr. Tharpe, I cannot tell you all the different eczema treatments we have tried and the money we have spent!” “We have so many creams and lotions in our cabinet, we’re not sure what to use.”

And I get it! You want relief. You want a cure. You want the lowest possibility of side effects using preferably something “natural.” You may want to do everything you can to avoid traditional medications or wait until the last possible moment to use anything you consider “unnatural.”

Believe it or not, I want all those things for you as well. I don’t want you to have to depend on prescription medications. And I will continue to work alongside you optimistically in hopes that one day that occurs.

However, until that day occurs, I need to help you see the big picture. What are the true goals? What is the most important thing at this moment in time? What are the problems being caused while you are experimenting your way to an eczema solution and avoiding tried and true therapies such as topical steroid creams?

Following shiny objects in the way of new unproven skin products while your skin suffers during an eczema flare is not the answer. Following every fad on social media and trying to keep up with “the Joneses” can cause major setbacks at a great expense.

And that expense is not just monetary. Patients will also tell me: “Money isn’t an issue Doc. I’ll spend whatever I can to improve my child’s eczema.” And thus the suffering has lasted several weeks or even months while experimenting with various types of baths, oils, homemade creams, etc. Often, there is no routine, no rhyme or reason why one cream or bathing technique is used. You and other caregivers may not be on the page with treatment routine and may be using different products at different times.

Finally, I see you or your loved ones for an evaluation for an eczema flare. The confusion, frustration and fatigue from the whole experience is obvious. We are now putting all hands on deck in the form of medications to get the current eczema flare under control.

When the eczema flare is finally controlled, I often wonder, what were those past few weeks or months of skin misery worth? Can you even begin to put a price on what was endured or what was lost during that time? Were you not as productive as you could’ve been? Were you worried, scared or embarrassed? How did you sleep? Was the stress worth it? Did you isolate yourself and strain relationships with family and friends? Will there be post traumatic stress in the future as a result?

Thus, I recommend you try to follow a simple action plan to help guide maintenance and assist with flares. The key is Keeping it Simple!

Here’s an example of one I often use:

Maintenance (No Flare):

  • Bathing/Showering
    • At least once daily for 15-20 min (or as close to this as possible)
    • Use a gentle, fragrance free cleanser
    • Avoid all other bath additives including salts, oils
  • Moisturizing (Non-medicated Creams or Ointments)
    • Apply moisturizer immediately after bath and at least one other time throughout the day (i.e morning and night)
  • Medications
    • Topicals
      • Consider preventative application of medicated creams 2-3 times per week on problem areas of the body (i.e behind the knees)
        • During times of year when flares are more likely
    • Oral
      • Consider a daily non-sedating antihistamine
        • During times of year when flares are more likely
        • Several days prior to exposure to know triggers such as an animal at a relative’s house

 

Flare:

  • Bathing/Showering
    • Twice daily 15-20 min (or as close to this as possible)
    • Use a gentle, fragrance free cleanser
    • Bleach 2-3 times weekly
      • In my clinical experience this is a game changer for most patients
    • Avoid all other bath additives including salts, oils
  • Moisturizing (Non-medicated Creams or Ointments)
    • Apply moisturizer immediately after bath
    • Apply 1 hour after applying topical medications (see below)
    • Apply as often as possible
      • Shoot for at least 3 times – morning, noon and night
      • Instead of scratching, apply more moisturizer
  • Medications
    • Topical
      • Anti-Inflammatories (i.e Steroids)
        • Apply twice daily to affected areas only until mostly clear
          • If no improvement in 3-4 days, contact doctor
      • Antibiotics (does not include over the counter)
        • Apply to open areas of skin 3 times daily for 7-10 days
          • If no improvement in these areas or if you note worsening pain, pus, bleeding, or other concerning symptoms, contact doctor
    • Oral
      • Antihistamines
        • Non-sedating in AM (i.e cetirizine, levocetirizine, fexofenadine)
        • Sedating in PM (i.e diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine)

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore