Atopic dermatitis: How to care for your skin

Proper skin care is a vital component in managing the rash and itchiness of atopic dermatitis. You can prevent the cycle of itchiness, scratching and rash with the following measures:

  • Always keep the skin properly hydrated to prevent dry skin
  • Avoid any known skin irritants

How do I keep the skin hydrated if I have atopic dermatitis?

  • Soak in lukewarm water for up to 10 minutes. The skin absorbs the water and still retain its natural oils. Remember that the loss of the natural oils will lead to dry skin. One can shower if atopic dermatitis is under control or when the outbreak is mild.
  • It is not advisable to wash with soap during each bath. If soap is needed, opt for a mild, non-drying product. Soap can be used regularly only on the groin, underarms and feet and rinse right away. Use shampoo or soap at the end of a bath to prevent the child from sitting in soapy water.
  • Avoid adding any bath oils and bubble baths to the bathwater since they reduce the ability of the skin to absorb water.
    Atopic dermatitis

    Apply a moisturizer several times throughout the day. Thicker ointments or creams usually work better than the thinner variants.

  • Do not use face cloths or scrub brushes.
  • Pat the skin dry after a shower or bath. While the skin is still damp or wet, apply a moisturizer right away, usually within 3 minutes of leaving the shower or bath.
  • Apply a moisturizer several times throughout the day. Thicker ointments or creams usually work better than the thinner variants.
  • In humid, warm climates, greasy moisturizers or lotions might block the sweat glands and cause discomfort. Use an oil-free moisturizer instead.
  • Consult a doctor regarding the use of a moist bandage that is applied over the affected area. This can minimize the symptoms but not ideal if medication is being used on the skin.

Avoidance of skin irritants

The following are the usual irritants that must be avoided especially those who have atopic dermatitis.

  • Various lotions, soaps and perfumes must be avoided. Utilize a mild, fragrance-free laundry soap when washing clothes and rinse twice.
  • Scratchy or rough bedding or clothing such as some acrylics and wool should not be used. Cotton or cotton blend fabrics are more comfortable.
  • Sunburn
  • Areas with low humidity level
  • Abrupt temperature changes
  • Excessive sweating can be avoided by selecting bedding and clothes that allows air to freely flow. This prevents sweat from building up on the skin and causing irritation.
  • Exercising during warm weather. It is best to opt for swimming which is a good exercise. Make sure to thoroughly wash and moisturize after.
  • Emotional stress