Even with top-notch health insurance, people living with eczema may end up spending a bundle on pharmaceuticals, skincare products and over-the-counter medications to find relief for their symptoms. It’s a costly disease, but there is a way to manage your eczema on a budget.
To boost your self-care while protecting your bank account, take advantage of the following free or low-cost options.
Ask your doctor for samples.
Skincare products can be expensive, especially if you use them liberally to keep your skin moisturized and your eczema under control. Most dermatologists keep a stash of sample-sized ointments, creams and lotions on hand, and they’re usually delighted to give them to their patients. All you need to do is ask! Samples also allow you to try a variety of products and see which ones work best for you.
Use home remedies.
Raid your fridge and pantry for all-natural eczema treatments, such as:
- Ice. An ice pack will go far toward cooling your itch. Cover it with terry cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin.
- Sunflower oil. Sunflower seed oil can stimulate our bodies’ natural ceramide production internally, which, can help improve the skin barrier, while taming inflammation.
- Coconut oil. One study with atopic dermatitis patients showed staph bacteria on the skin decreased by 95 percent after coconut oil was applied to the skin.
- Apple cider vinegar. The acidic brew helps lower yeast and bacteria levels in the skin, helping the skin restore its natural state. Some people with eczema use it as an alternative to bleach baths.
Consult the eczema community’s “hive mind.”
The National Eczema Association offers an online space called Scratch Pad, where patients and families share what works for them—and what doesn’t. You’ll read about the benefits of over-the-counter and alternative treatments, including specific brands and the best way to use them.
For example, one patient sang the praises of her favorite low-cost moisturizer. Another swore by an affordable regimen combining flaxseed oil capsules, a biotin-plus-keratin formula, a daily antihistamine, and a twice-a-day moisturizing routine.
Be a smart consumer.
Buy skin products in bulk from Costco or BJ’s Wholesale Club. Explore coupon websites, such as coupon.com, redplum.com, or thekrazycouponlady.com—and check out the websites of chain pharmacies and other favorite stores for bargains.
And when you’re out shopping the old-fashioned way, take the time to comparison-shop. Prices of medications and over-the-counter products can vary widely, so it pays to invest a little time and energy in looking for the best deals out there.
Apply for financial aid.
If you’re having trouble paying for the prescription medications you need, you can seek financial support through a wealth of government programs, non-profit organizations and drug maker patient assistance programs (PAPs).
PAPS are set up by pharmaceutical companies to offer free or low-cost drugs to those who can’t afford their medication. Each of these programs has its own rules and criteria, so make sure to read the fine print on the website associated with the medications you take. To learn about all of these options in detail, visit the on the National Eczema Association website.
There’s an app for that.
Smart phone apps have come a long way, and more people are using them to track their symptoms, monitor their diet and exercise regimens, remind them when to take their meds, manage stress and more. The following apps are just a sampling of what’s available for free on your iOS or Android device:
- – a medication and pill reminder
- – support for managing asthma symptoms
- Breathe2Relax (available on both and ) – breathing techniques to help you manage stress
- – mindfulness and meditation
- – an app that helps lull you to sleep
These tips will help you get started, and who knows? You may just find treasure on your hunt. If you do, please share the wealth with other Eczema Warriors on NEA’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Eczema Wise.