Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed, itchy, red, and dry skin. It is often linked to an overactive immune system and tends to run in families with histories of allergies or asthma.
In Singapore, the hot and humid climate, exposure to dust mites, and high levels of air pollution may further trigger Eczema symptoms.
The good news is that the right treatment plan can effectively control and manage Eczema. While there is no known cure for Eczema, avoiding triggers, proper skin care, medications, and complementary therapies can significantly relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
This article provides a complete guide on Singapore’s latest treatments for controlling and managing Eczema.
The first step in treating Eczema is understanding what causes it. Eczema occurs as a result of overactive immune functioning along with defects in the skin. Common triggers include irritants, specific foods, stress, hormones, and allergies. There are several specific types of Eczema as well, and identifying which one you have can help guide treatment. Here are the most common types:
- Atopic Dermatitis – Also called atopic Eczema, this hereditary form causes very itchy skin that typically comes and goes. It often starts in childhood.
- Contact Dermatitis – An allergic reaction or irritation triggered by contact with an allergen or irritant. Common triggers include nickel, latex, makeup, or plants.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema – Characterized by itchy blisters on the palms, soles, sides of fingers and toes. Often comes and goes.
- Hand Eczema – Affects hands specifically. Irritant exposure and frequent hand washing are common triggers.
Once you’ve identified the type of Eczema, you can use that information to help choose the most effective Eczema treatment Singapore center.
Proper Skin Care
Caring for skin affected by Eczema is vital for managing symptoms and avoiding flares. At the very minimum, an Eczema skin care regimen must include gentle cleansing, regular moisturizing, and topical medications as prescribed by a dermatologist. Several vital tips should be followed to properly care for sensitive, inflamed skin.
First and foremost, gentle cleansing is crucial to avoid further irritating inflamed skin. Only wash with very mild cleansers explicitly labeled as “fragrance-free” and safe for sensitive skin. When cleansing, use lukewarm rather than hot water, as heat can trigger flares. After washing, pat the skin dry exceptionally gently with a soft, high-quality towel rather than rubbing the skin, which can worsen irritation and inflammation. Avoid using abrasive loofahs or brushes.
Additionally, frequent moisturizer application helps hydrate the skin and seal in moisture, which Eczema-prone skin often lacks. Use moisturizer within the first few minutes after bathing while the skin is still damp. This helps lock precious water into the thirsty skin before it evaporates. Reapply moisturizer multiple times throughout the day, even when the skin feels somewhat moist. Maintaining sufficient hydration levels is genuinely critical to avoid cracking and flair-ups.
Ointments and thicker cream formulations are strongly preferred for moisturizers over light lotions. The more affluent occlusive bases provide longer-lasting hydration benefits over time than watery lotions that absorb quickly. Sticking to thicker moisturizers prevents dryness between applications.
When bathing, strongly consider shorter and cooler showers over long hot baths. Too hot water can worsen inflammation and strip the skin of natural oils. Excessive hot water exposure leads to more harm than good for sensitive skin. Quicker, tepid showers are ideal.
Since adequately caring for the delicate skin barrier is vital, have an in-depth conversation with a dermatologist about topical medication options that can further reduce inflammation, support healing of the damaged barrier, and improve moisture retention capacity over time while using skin care best practices.
Several topical and oral medications can be beneficial for controlling Eczema, especially in exceptionally moderate to severe cases. These should only be used under medical supervision. Some of the most common medications used to treat Eczema in Singapore include:
- Topical Corticosteroids: These are the cornerstone of Eczema treatment. Topical corticosteroids reduce inflammation and itching. They come in various strengths and should be prescribed based on the severity of symptoms, patient age, areas being treated, and length of time used.
- Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors are another topical treatment option often used for sensitive skin areas like the face or folds—these work by regulating the immune response to reduce inflammation.
- Phototherapy: For moderate to severe cases, phototherapy treatments using ultraviolet light applied to the skin may be used under medical guidance to calm inflammation and itching.
- Oral Immunosuppressants: For severe cases unresponsive to other treatments, oral immunosuppressants like cyclosporine may be prescribed to interrupt the immune response. Due to potential side effects, close medical monitoring is required if using this option long term.
When incorporated into a management plan, specific complementary therapies used alongside conventional treatment may further help minimize Eczema symptoms. These should not replace medical treatment but can provide additional relief. Some therapies to consider include:
- Salt (Dead Sea or Epsom salt) baths, which can reduce inflammation and soothe itchy skin
- Wet wrap therapy, using damp bandages over medicated creams to enhance absorption
- Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) options selected by an experienced TCM practitioner
- Probiotics and supplements (like evening primrose oil) to support skin barrier function and immunity
The most evidence exists around using emollient therapy, salt baths, wet wraps, and TCM. Other complementary approaches like acupuncture, light therapy, and essential oils may provide benefits but require further research. Consult both Eastern and Western medicine practitioners when exploring additional Eczema relief options.
Controlling Eczema in Singapore’s hot and humid climate can prove challenging but possible with an integrative treatment approach. This includes avoiding triggers, practicing proper skin care techniques, using medicated treatments under medical guidance, and selectively incorporating complementary therapies for additional relief.
With the right customized plan, most patients can effectively manage symptoms, prevent recurring flares, and improve overall quality of life. Partnering closely with both dermatology and TCM specialists is critical for sustainable success.