There are other topical treatments for eczema. Here we discuss tar, antibiotics and anti itch treatments:


Tar can be used daily for one week out of every month. This has been quite commonly used to give a break from the use of topical steroids. Now that there are newer non-steroid preparations available the use of tars may diminish. LCD 5-10% in hydrophilic petrolatum has certainly been an useful preparation in chronic thickened atopic dermatitis.


Secondary infection as well as heavy colonization of the skin particularly with Staph aureus can worsen the eczema and may make it more difficult to respond to treatment until the bacterial component has been dealt with.

Localized patches of infected or resistant eczema may be treated in part by topical antibiotic creams and ointments. Mupirocin(Bactroban) or Fucidic acid(Fucidin) ointment have shown benefit.

A prolonged clinical improvement has been shown when Mupirocin is combined with a topical steroid.

Br J Dermatol 1988;119:189-98

Anti Itch Creams

Creams such as those containing Pramoxine or Doxepin which reduce the itch sensation can be of use. They are of most value for small areas of skin.Doxepin cream is absorbed and shows a sedating effect which can be helpful especially at bed time.

Topical antihistamines notably benadryl are available for the relief of itch. Whilst they may have some benefit there is a concern about developing allergic reactions to this product and likely should not be used.