5 Alternatives to Steroids for Eczema

Learn about alternatives to steroids for atopic dermatitis

Asian girl wearing green jacket playing with bubbles in a park
Credits: "Leo Rivas Micoud at Unsplash.com"

Steroids work well to treat eczema, but there are many side effects that can be concerning. Generally, steroids are safe to use but overuse can lead to side effects such as skin thinning.[1] Several studies show that many people are concerned about using topical steroids with estimates of “steroid worry” ranging from 38% to 81% of people.[2-4] When used appropriately, steroids are both safe and effective, but a growing number of people are seeking alternatives to steroids.

Here are five non-steroidal treatments for eczema to consider:

Alternative #1: Slightly Damp Clothes and Emollients

child with eczema wrapped in bathtub with towels
Credit: Daniel Mietchen at Wikimedia Common

Dry, itchy skin is a key characteristic of eczema. Emollients, commonly called moisturizers, are fatty or oily creams and ointments that help to retain moisture in the skin and reduce the amount of water loss. Wet wrapping is a type of hydrotherapy that has been used to treat dry skin for generations. After bathing, an emollient is applied over the wet skin and then wrapped in wet towels. Wet wrapping with emollients itself can reduce dry skin in eczema.[5]

In some cases, wet wrapping can be used with steroids to make it more effective when the eczema is flared. Wet wrapping allows for weaker steroids to be used because the wet wrapping can make the steroid work more effectively. Many physicians have used this method with topical steroids to reduce flares.[6] Chinese medical practitioners and naturopaths will also use this method in combination with herbal creams. 

It is important to have the guidance of a qualified health provider when applying, as to avoid side effects of treatment.  

Alternative #2: Use of Natural Oils for Eczema


* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.


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