Eczema may be caused by a variety of external and internal irritants.
Keep Skin Moisturized
In order to prevent scratching, since eczema is usually dry and itchy, constant application of creams or lotions is recommended to keep the skin as moist as possible. It is suggested that moisturizers be applied immediately (within three minutes) after a bath to lock in moisture. These creams or lotions may contain active ingredients to help relieve itching and soreness. A useful active ingredient is benzocaine, which at a minimum of 5%, is a safe and effective remedy for pain and itching. Its beneficial activity occurs almost wholly within the skin and mucous membranes where it blocks the pain-conducting nerve endings. A single application may quell pain and itching for 4-6 hours. Menthol in concentrations of 0.1-1% will effectively control itching and pain. It can be combined with external anti-pain ingredients such as camphor. Menthol will penetrate broken and unbroken skin to reach sensory nerve endings. Allantoin, with its healing ability, can also be used. These anti-itch ingredients are called antipruritics.
Here is a simple formulation for an anti-itch cream:
Cetearyl alcohol (and) 15.0
sodium cetearyl sulfate
Procedure: With constant stirring, put water in a batch tank. In a separate container, melt the first ingredient at 70°C and add salicylic acid and menthol to it. When uniform, add to the water also at 70°C. Cool to room temperature.
A bactericide, if desired, may also be added. The salicylic acid is a skin-exfoliating agent that is widely used to treat skin disorders. Cold compresses applied directly to itchy skin may also help relieve itching. If the condition does not improve, a nonprescription corticosteroid ointment can be used to reduce inflammation. Other treatments for more severe cases include the use of more potent prescription corticosteroid creams and antihistamines to help reduce the itching.