October is National Eczema Awareness Month
Eczema is a general term for rash-like dry and peeling skin conditions. The most common type of eczema is referred to as atopic dermatitis. As we approach the dryer, cooler weather of fall and winter, flares of eczema or atopic dermatitis are very common.
Below are SIMPLE TIPS to help minimize atopic dermatitis flares:
- Preventing dryness and cracking of the skin is the single best way to help minimize atopic dermatitis flares. When choosing a moisturizer, look for thick creams or ointments. Often simple moisturizers such as petroleum jelly do a wonderful job of hydrating extremely dry skin.
- Choose moisturizers that are free of fragrances and are geared toward sensitive and eczema-prone skin types.
- Ideally apply a moisturizer two or three times daily, more often as needed. Remember, the number one cause of itchy skin is dry skin.
- Similar as to the moisturizing regimen, choose a fragrance-free and gentle cleanser that is soap-free.
- For children, limit bathing time to 5-10 minutes in lukewarm water. Avoid using bubble bath.
- After bathing, gently pat the skin with a cotton towel and liberally apply moisturizer when the skin is almost dry.
- For more severe cases, ask your dermatology provider about bleach bath therapy, as this can significantly expedite healing of atopic dermatitis flares.
- Wash clothing before wearing as this can help remove excess fabric finishers or dyes and potentially irritate skin.
- Use a gentle laundry detergent indicated for sensitive skin and rinse on a double rinse cycle. Avoid fabric softeners. Sometimes a second rinse cycle is helpful.
- Wear clothes that are made of 100% cotton. Avoid synthetic fibers or wool, which can irritate skin.
- OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS:
- Remember to keep fingernails short and smooth. Putting cotton gloves on at night can decrease night time scratching.
- It is important to remember that foods usually DO NOT cause atopic dermatitis. However, some studies suggest that food allergies can make atopic dermatitis worse. Avoid foods that seem to directly cause a flare of atopic dermatitis. Some common allergenic foods include milk, nuts, eggs, soy and shellfish. Speak to your dermatologist about this correlation in more detail.
- Minimize dust and pet dander in the home. Consider switching to wood or tile flooring instead of carpet in your home.
- Learning stress reduction techniques and improving stress management can be very helpful for minimizing atopic dermatitis flares.
- A cool mist humidifier can prevent excess skin drying. A humidifier can be used in both winter, when home heating dries the atmosphere, and in summer, when air conditioning absorbs the moisture from the air.
For comprehensive and therapeutic atopic dermatitis treatments, please schedule a visit with one of our experienced atopic dermatitis providers at Mahoney Dermatology Specialists! Call 727-530-0920.