I was just passing by here and came across your post.
I have atopic dermatitis (eczema) and I know what you are going through. There are plenty of others here to who have either eczema or psoriasis and so you have come to the right place.
I want to ask if your rash appears on the outside of the elbows or the inside? Meaning does it occur where the skin folds to touch itself right below the bicep or is it on/near the area where you would rest your arms on the table?
Have you seen a dermatologist? They can provide more accurate diagnosis than a regular doctor can.
As for Elidel, I have found that it worked OK at the start but just wasn't up to the task. Protopic, on the other hand, has worked great for me but the problems with it are not something to brush off. First, it can make you itch (that's great, huh?
) Second, it can feel like it is burning (like Elidel does at first for some), and third, it is greasy like Vaseline so it can stain clothing, etc. and leaves residue.
All that inconvenience, however, is worth it because Protopic has cleared parts of my eczema in a 2-3 day use. It is recommended that you continue for a day or two after the symptoms are gone just to be sure.
Never heard of Freederm, but I would suggest that you do the standard things that eczema people are told to do, namely:
- take lukewarm showers and use lukewarm water to wash hands/face/etc. as hot water will dry out your skin and make it itch. Go quick on the shower. If you prefer baths, try some bath oil that should help the skin.
- use a mild soap, such as Dove or Cetaphil or a liquid body wash type. Such things as Ivory are very strong and could wash the oils out of your skin, making it dry and itchy.
- after washing/showering/bathing, pat dry, do not rub
- within 3 minutes, apply a moisturizer. I always recommend Moisturel, Cetaphil, Curel Fragrance Free, and even Neutragena Norwegian formula products. Vaseline will work as well. This is important as you want to lock in the moisture you have acquired from the shower/bath.
- if you are going to use medication, apply it before applying moisturizer so it will contact the skin rather than get blocked out by the moisturizer. A note of awareness here - if you are using Protopic I believe there is a recommended 20-30 minute wait for the skin to dry out a bit before applying it. See the instructions or ask your dermatologist.
- In general avoid anything you allergic to. This is especially true for foods.
- Sleep in a cool environment - heat will make you sweat and then itch and then scratch.
- Air conditioners are your friend. They help keep the humidity and temperature constant. While the humidity might go too low with an AC, so try a humidifier in tandem. Air purifiers are also worthy of consideration.
- Use liquid detergent instead of powders as they rinse out better. Extra rinse is recommended. Also, wash bedding with hot water to kill off dust mites. Do NOT use the scented dryer sheets for any reason.
I'm sure a few others will come along to provide more info.
Welcome to SkinCell. May you find help and heart here.