Helpful Hints for Patients with Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD), or atopic eczema, is a chronic, recurring skin disorder that results in dry, easily irritated, itchy skin. There is no cure of AD but good daily skin care is key to controlling the disease.
Recommendations for Good Daily Skin Care!
Soak and Seal
1. Take at least one bath or shower per day; use warm water, for 15-20 minutes.
2. Use a gentle cleansing bar or wash such as Dove, Oil of Olay, Eucerin, Basis, Cetaphil, Vanicream, Aveeno or Oilatum. During a severe flare, you may choose to limit the use of cleansers to avoid possible irritation.
3. Pat away excess water and immediately (within 3 minutes), after the bath or shower, apply the moisturizer or the special skin medications prescribed onto damp skin. This will seal in the water and make the skin less dry and itchy.
4. Apply the moisturizer everywhere on skin that has not received medication. Vaseline is a good occlusive preparation to seal in the water; however, it contains no water so it only works effectively after bathing. Recommended fragrance-free moisturizers include Aquaphor Ointment, Eucerin Crème Original or Calming, Vanicream, Cetaphil Cream, or Moisturel Cream. Moisturizers should not be applied over the medications.
Reduce Skin Irritation
1. Wash all new clothes before wearing them. This removes formaldehyde and other potentially irritating chemicals that are used during production and packing.
2. Add a second rinse cycle to ensure removal of soap, if you are concerned. Residual laundry detergent, particularly perfume or dye, may be irritating when it remains in the clothing. Changing to a liquid or fragrance-free, dye-free detergent may also be helpful.
3. Wear garments that allow air to pass freely to your skin. Open weave, loose-fitting, cotton-blend clothing may be most comfortable.
4. Work and sleep in comfortable surroundings with a fairly constant temperature and humidity level.
5. Keep fingernails very short and smooth to help prevent damage due to scratching.
6. Appropriate use of sedating antihistamines may reduce itching to some degree through their tranquilizing and sedative effects.
7. An excellent resource for people with eczema is the:
San Rafael, CA 94903-1953
415.499.3474 / 800.818.7546