Medications used to treat eczema
Whether you have atopic eczema or contact eczema, cortisone cream can help soothe inflammation.
For atopic eczema, cream-based anti-inflammatories are used in combination with regular skin hydration. Other treatments may be used, particularly for more severe cases.
Cortisone cream is the standard medication used to soothe redness and thus prevent scratching.
Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory: it reduces inflammation, almost like a fire extinguisher puts out a flame.
In the case of atopic eczema, cortisone cream is only half the treatment. It is combined with a preventive hydrating treatment to promote skin repair. Good hygiene practices and a consistent treatment is the best way to delay the onset of the next flare-up.
Cortisone may be applied to the skin in other forms besides a cream, including ointments, gels, lotions, etc.
We sometimes use the term topical corticosteroids when talking about cortisone cream; it means the same thing.
Other treatments and medications
In the case of contact eczema, treatment involves avoiding contact with the triggering allergen. Additional treatments are sometimes used: oral corticosteroids for very acute forms, alitretinoin for severe chronic hand eczema, etc.
When atopic eczema appears on sensitive areas, like on the face or eyelids, another anti-inflammatory, such as tacrolimus, may be applied in place of cortisone cream.
Aside from topical treatments, phototherapy, immunosuppressants, or targeted biotherapies are among other treatments reserved for severe forms of atopic eczema.