Well, here's the thing. Not as much is publicly known about eczema as really should be known and spread around, considering how many people actually have it. Especially for those of us who suffer HIGHLY from it. As a child, my parents have horror stories of finding me in my crib with blood all over my hands from itching so much. And throughout my life, I've suffered and questioned and never really found proper ways of treating the problem.
Until a recent nasty outbreak (caused by a parasite I contracted while traveling abroad in Asia), I had never found a doctor who really knew enough to treat me AND explain the condition so that I understand what it was and what it did.
Not many people know, from what he said, that eczema is actually a problem with your autoimmune system. It's basically your immune system attacking your skin and causing whatever ruckus it can. It can be brought on by high stress, dry weather, hot weather, cold weather, allergies, harsh soaps and chemicals...... even a serious illness (or even just a nasty cold). Anything that puts your body under stress. Some of us are triggered by just a few of those things, and some of us all are triggered by all
of those things. I am one of the latter.
And no, tanning beds do not help. I was under that notion as well, because I always seemed to feel a little bit better for a day or two after tanning but like the doctor said it doesn't really help because it doesn't really go away.
So far, what my specialist has me doing is:
Using the steroid ointments prescribed, one for my face (since its more delicate skin) and one for the rest of my body. If you'd like to know the actual names of the ointments I'm using (cos they work AMAZING), feel free to PM me.
Using only unscented body soaps.... no pretty scents for us eczema sufferers, unfortunately. I use Dove, which he approves of.
Moisturize the skin regularly, especially after bathing. My derm recommends using the brand Cerave, which is a little bit more expensive than the normal body lotions, but its worth it. It has something in it called ceramides, which actually helps your skin replenish cells faster. I use the cream for my face AND body, though they also have the lighter plain lotion as well (the cream is recommended for you face). I get a large jar of it at Wal-Mart for about $16. I go through a jar every two weeks. Once again, worth it though.
All those things have helped me, a lot. In fact, I get compliments on my skin.
Good luck and like I said, feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!