Essential Skin Care Tips for Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

As the ailment is chronic and of relapsing nature, persistence with proper skin care is a must. The patient and his care-takers should be educated about the disease triggers and measures to avoid them.

  • Bathe less frequently: Patient should opt to bathe just two or three times a week with lukewarm water (avoid hot water) maximum for 5-10 minutes.
  • Gently pat skin dry with a towel after bathing. Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or swimming while the skin is still damp so as to seal in the moisture especially during winter.
  • Avoid using soap. Restrict the use of soap to genitals, axillae, hands, and feet.
  • Use of mild cleanser or moisturizing soap is recommended. Mild soaps clean without excessively removing natural oils.
  • To retain the moisture after application of moisturizer patient could cover the area with a wrap or if hands are involved he can use gloves. This is not advised when steroidal applications are used as it increases the potential for developing their side-effects.
  • Soaking the lesion in sodium bicarbonate or colloidal oatmeal to the bath helps in reduce itching.
  • By wearing gloves in the winter patient can prevent skin from being exposed to cold air with little humidity which can dry the skin.
  • Regularly clip nails to prevent abrasion of skin while scratching. This reduces the chances of developing a secondary infection.
  • Avoid contact with allergens or irritants to the skin e.g. wool, perfumes, detergents, etc.
  • Children should be encouraged to drink plenty of water. Fluids help add moisture to the skin.
  • Food substances that provoke allergies (allergens) should be avoided, e.g.: Tomatoes which can be acidic.
  • Tight-fitting, rough or scratchy clothing can irritate the skin. Wool and some synthetics are especially likely to irritate the skin. Wearing cotton and cotton blends are better choices.
  • Scratching the skin rash: Patients often find it difficult to control this urge hence they should cover the affected area with a dressing or wear gloves at night to reduce damage to the skin caused by scratching accidentally during sleep.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during a flare-up as sweating can irritate the rash.
  • Try and reduce mental and physical stress. Stress can trigger flare-ups. Older children and adults can learn breathing techniques and meditation to reduce stress.

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