Q. I am bothered with a patch of eczema on my face (chin area) that has not responded to any of the expensive steroid creams that have been prescribed.

A friend told me that her dermatologist had her give her son fish oil caplets when he had eczema on his face. I have started taking fish oil but I have not seen much improvement. My chin is still red and itchy, and the patch is getting bigger.

Do you have any thoughts on what could get this eczema under control and ultimately make it go away? I am hoping for a home remedy.

A. Eczema can be chronic, and the dry red itchy patches can make life miserable. Scientists have done controlled studies on two improbable approaches that proved helpful: drinking oolong tea or taking probiotics such as Lactobacillus GG.

We discuss these treatments along with Pycnogenol, Noxzema, CamoCare Soothing Cream and many other alternative approaches in the Guide to Skin Care and Treatment we are sending you.

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  1. Jonothan
    Reply

    I suffer from occasional eczema, not too bad, but enough for me to feel like I have to fix it!
    I find using coconut oil as a moisturizer on the affected parts of skin really does help massively! Even manuka honey left on it for half an hour works wonders too!

  2. C.V
    Reply

    I was just diagnosed today with eczema. More or less about 2 years ago I started noticing these age spot looking spots on the back of both of my legs. I am very doubtful that they are eczema. They look nothing like what I’ve seen online. They are not red, or itchy, or raised. They don’t even bother me except for their appearance. I’m seriously thinking about getting a second opinion.
    I’m curious did anyone else’s start with just some spots like that and begin to get worse? I asked my cousin who’s had it for most of her life and she said hers looked like mine when it first started. I’m scared mines gonna get all itchy, and bumpy, and painful and uncontrollable like those in the pictures.

  3. slaurin
    Reply

    I get eczema on my face. I started using dr bronner’s castile soap this summer and it doesn’t dry out your skin. Also, I moisturize with calendula cream which I love. When the eczema comes out I apply calendula a couple times a day and it goes away pretty quickly.

  4. Gina F
    Reply

    Only thing that ever helps me with severe Eczema breakouts is a cortisone shot. Sure it’s not great for you over long term, bit better than bloody blister broken open on face or body parts. I suggest looking for a dermatologist that offers shots as treatment and you will get the quickest and maximum relief you need.

  5. Nala
    Reply

    Try some raw coconut oil on it it helped my daughters on her face.

  6. SMP
    Reply

    I had eczema on fingers of both hands and have tried all sorts of lotions, creams and ointments for years now without any success. Due to use of ointments/creams skin has become very sensitive.
    Please suggest some remedy for both the eczema and the sensitive skin/finger tips.
    Thanks
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: A Japanese study of people with atopic dermatitis (eczema) that didn’t respond to treatment found that a couple of months of drinking oolong tea every day cleared it up:
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/04/29/battling-psoriasis-with-a-cup-of-tea/
    We have also heard from readers who find that a heavy moisturizing ointment helps, while others prefer a lighter cream with urea, 10% or 20%:
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/02/28/suffering-from-sandpaper-skin-cracked-fingertips/

  7. Samantha
    Reply

    Oatmeal is not just for breakfast. It helps itchy skin, too. Colloidal oatmeal can help with itchy skin caused by eczema, psoriasis, insect bites and poison ivy. Adding a cup or two of colloidal oatmeal to a warm bath helps treat itchy skin. Rinse with cool water after, and then pat dry with a towel. This can be done up to three times per day for relief.

  8. Marcie Mom
    Reply

    I do give my toddler flaxseed oil, but that’s more because her diet is short of omega-3 rather than hoping to cure her eczema with it. I’m all for good diet, particularly one that has more anti-inflammation food than inflammation food but I think a doctor still has to be consulted and topical treatments use, particularly for a kid who finds it hard to control scratching. (Scratching > Inflammation > Itch-scratch cycle)
    Take care!
    Mei

  9. W. Nas
    Reply

    Perhaps you suffer from Urticaria (hives)?? I’ve suffered from urticaria for the past 7 years with no doctor telling me what’s causing it or how to cure it only antihistamines I’ve been taken daily. All my family we have allergy history that includes eczema, asthma, urticaria, sneezing and runny noses, food allergies and all. All those are connected. So check if it’s urticaria the little kid is having.

  10. LS
    Reply

    I had eczema all my life and eliminated dairy from my diet after seeing a Naturopath. It took a couple of months, but I am now eczema free for the first time in my life that I can remember.

  11. michelle j.
    Reply

    I have that same problem after showers and my grandson still has a runny nose after taking allergy meds. Please let me know if you find out what is wrong.

  12. Idjones
    Reply

    I am 63 years old and have itched all of my life especially during and after bathing. My 3 children had the same problem and now my 4 years old grand son is miserable. I also have eczema (for 11 yrs) and so does he as well as other allergies.
    He takes Zyrtec or Benadryl everyday and his nose continually runs. I’m thinking this might all be related. I never thought my itching could be caused by allergies! We have checked him for pinworms and found none (he scratches all over!).
    I’ve been wondering if it could be body pH. I tried a 10% vinegar solution after showering for the last 4 days and noticed a slight improvement. Can you help? The poor baby wakes up crying in the middle of the night. I remember being put on Valium when I was in college it was so bad!

  13. J.S.
    Reply

    Acne Free what? I have the dame thing on my face and no matter what I put on there it makes it worse.

  14. Nancy C.
    Reply

    I have had an itchy rash on the tops of my feet and ankles for 6 months. Sometimes tiny bubbles appear because I have irritated it so much by scratching. Nothing seemed to relieve it. I mostly wear thong-type sandals, so it isn’t due to shoes or laundry detergent. Then I read about putting vodka on it. I tried it along with tea tree oil and over the counter triple antibiotic ointment. It is going away after 3 days and the itching stopped immediately. I suppose rubbing alcohol might work, but the vodka sure did.

  15. maggie
    Reply

    Shannon, I too have dealt with chronic eczema. It has recently gotten worse. Would you mind giving more detail about the commercial water softener system you got? Was that to remove chlorine? Also, any details about the bio-identical hormone therapy you’ve tried would be really appreciated. I really think my worsening eczema is related to hormones, but haven’t figured out a solution yet. Thanks, Maggie

  16. Max
    Reply

    I have been going to a dermatologist for one year now, and none of the prescriptions ever worked. So then she told me to try Crisco (the white kind in the can) on the spots and it cleared up in a week. If I put it on the same day the spot shows up, it is gone in two days.
    For good measure, one a week, I add it to my lotion routine when I get out of the shower.

  17. Jan
    Reply

    My Grandson was covered with dry itchy Eczema. His mother bought the Pro-biotic drinks. He loves them and drinks at least two a day, more if he can get away with it. His eczema is gone.
    Earlier in my life I had eczema on my hands so bad that they cracked and bled and people thought I had acid poured on them. An herbist told me about Chickweed Tea, I drank it and have not had it since. The tea stops any itch (chicken pox etc.) I have referred it to people with psorisis also and it they have had unbelievable results. It is also a skin herb, very good for the skin.

  18. Jessica
    Reply

    I had issues with eczema on the sides of my mouth and nose, and also in between my eyebrows for several years. I used an antibiotic lotion with a steroid cream, but it never seemed to get any better. Stress would cause it to get even worse, and I had to be very careful about using new products on my skin (and never get a facial). I went to one dermatologist who said it was acne (because it looked like little red bumps), but a second dermatologist told me I would have to quit the steroid cream cold-turkey.
    She said that prolonged use of the steroid causes the immune system to be suppressed in that area of the skin, which allows bacteria to grow, but the immune-suppressing properties of the steroid keep the bacteria from getting out of control. It turns out that the very treatment I had begun using for the eczema was now in fact causing the “eczema/rash” I currently had.
    She gave me an oral antibiotic to take for 2 weeks and said I could keep using the antibiotic lotion, and warned me that the rash would flare up really bad before it started to get better and that about 3 days into being off the steroid, I would want to kill her. She was right – it flared up really bad for about a week and a half, but then slowing started to improve. After 3 weeks, it was almost completely gone. My skin is now completely clear, and I have never had a problem with the “eczema/rash” again.

  19. Clint
    Reply

    I suffered with roscea for 5 years and went through the regiment of 3 ointments or creams, tetracycline 3 times a day for 3 months.I did this routine several times with no improvement.
    I purchased Acne Free and in three days it showed improvement and cleared in 2 weeks but I continued to use it for several months after clearing. Never to return after 2 years.

  20. Tammy
    Reply

    I have had stress induced eczema for the past 2 years and suffered with it badly. I have it about 95% under control by drinking two cups of Chinese Oolong tea per day and using over-the-counter CereVe cream several times a day. When I stop either, the eczema returns. This works a lot better than steroid creams.

  21. Kim
    Reply

    The first time I had a patch of Eczema on my leg, the doctor gave me a prescription cream to use daily. After two tubes and one month later, it finally went away.
    Then I read in your column about using Noxzema. About a year later, I got another patch in the same place on my leg. This time I used Noxzema. I could tell the difference the next day! It was totally gone in about a week and a half and I haven’t had it since. Needless to say, I keep a jar of Noxzema in my cabinet. It worked beautifully. Thanks People’s Pharmacy!

  22. abigail
    Reply

    a friend had very bad eczema on her wrists which responded to the elimination of milk from her diet. she had no other symptoms of milk sensitivity.

  23. alxzba
    Reply

    I have a beard and have had similar problems with skin on chin during winter. Dermatologiest suggested using Head/Shoulder shampoo (I use generic). It works.

  24. shannon
    Reply

    After 23 years of severe, chronic eczema that often required oral steroids and always need topical steroids, I have been 99% clear for more than 3 years. The first big breakthrough was getting a commercial water softener system.
    The second was going on bio-identical hormone therapy. I also take fish oil, but that has been a recent addition. Must get some oolong tea — though I seldom have flare-ups these days:) It is heaven being off steroids!

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