Scratching makes the condition worse. To reduce itching, your health care provider may recommend taking anti-itch medicines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratadine (Claritin) by mouth. You may take anti-itch medicine before bed if you scratch in your sleep.
Apply ointments or creams to your hands at least 2 times per day, and after every hand washing.
- Heavy ointments are best. Petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline), mineral oil, or vegetable shortening may be best, but these products can be messy.
- Creams such as Eucerin and Lubriderm are thicker than lotion and may be helpful.
Your doctor may prescribe steroid (or corticosteroid) ointments or creams. Other creams or ointments, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus may also be used.
If your symptoms are very bad, your doctor may recommend the following:
- Steroid pills
- Coal tar preparations
- Phototherapy (ultraviolet light therapy)
Avoid frequent bathing, excessive hand washing, and irritating substances, which can make itching worse.