The Top Self-Care Tips For Atopic Dermatitis

The Top Self-Care Tips For Atopic Dermatitis

Self-care is a buzzword that comes up a lot in the emotional and mental health spheres. More than just a wellness term, self-care is often a key component to any activity that helps you make your body feel better. Think of self-care for atopic dermatitis like alternative remedies that help lessen your need for medication in the long run.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopica dermatitis (eczema) is a skin condition that causes dry, inflamed, and itchy skin. It is very common in young children, but it can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that can flare up occasionally, causing red, irritated areas on the skin. Although it is irritating, atopic dermatitis is not contagious. Moisturizing regularly and following an anti-inflammatory diet, among other things, can help reduce the risk of flare-ups and irritation. Continue reading to learn more about some science-backed self-care tips of atopic dermatitis. 

Moisturize Twice A Day

Dermatologists encourage people with atopic dermatitis to moisturize within three to five minutes after a bath or shower. The reason for this is because the moisturizer helps to lock in moisture when the skin is still slightly damp. That creates a protective barrier and allows your skin to heal. Not all moisturizers are beneficial, with some being better than others for eczema-prone skin. Choose a moisturizer that is dye- and fragrance-free, and consider a skin barrier cream, which contains lipids and ceramides, both of which are present in a healthy skin barrier. Moisturizers that feel “greasy” are usually the most effective at protecting the skin.

Take Shorter, Cooler Showers

You don’t have to think about conserving water just because you have atopic dermatitis. That said, dry skin (a common trigger of atopic dermatitis) is commonly caused by hot water, especially if you are in it for a long time. When you shower in cool or warm water (not hot), the water is less likely to dry out your skin. Another tip is to limit the time you spend in a bath or shower to about five to 10 minutes maximum. Too much time in the water can irritate the skin. If you have a flare-up, a lukewarm oatmeal bath will help soothe the skin.

Try An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is a healthy response to injury or infection, helping to heal the body. In people with atopic dermatitis, the immune system remains triggered, even when there is no infection or injury. That excess inflammation is a contributing factor to atopic dermatitis. The foods you eat can either help or harm inflammation levels, regardless of overall health. Dietary strategies, such as adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, may help relieve symptoms. It isn’t a specific diet; rather, it is an eating pattern that focuses on more foods that help reduce inflammatory markers in the body. Click here to learn more about an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Use Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers

Certain hand soaps, dish soaps, and face or body washes, especially those with fragrances. Soaps can remove the natural oils on the skin, and damage it as well. Mild, fragrance-free soaps or cleansers are the best for sensitive skin, or for people with atopic dermatitis. Try experimenting with non-soap cleansers that do not contain dyes, fragrances, sulfates, or alcohol, all of which can increase the risk of flare-ups. 

Find Ways To Reduce Stress

Stress affects many aspects of your health, and is a common trigger for atopic dermatitis symptoms. Finding effective ways to manage stress can not only benefit your mental health, but also your atopic dermatitis. Mindfulness is a great technique to help manage stress, as it helps you focus on the present moment. There’s no sense in worrying about the past or future when you can only control the present. Scientific studies have proven that practicing mindfulness regularly can reduce atopic dermatitis flare-ups. Along with lowering stress, mindfulness can help reduce itch perception, which triggers the urge to scratch. Meditation, journaling, and yoga are three great ways to practice mindfulness. 

Exercise is another great way to ease stress, but it isn’t advised for everyone with atopic dermatitis. Too much heat and sweat can increase itching and inflammation. Some helpful ways to exercise with atopic dermatitis include:

  • Wearing loose, cotton clothes, which are less irritating than moisture-wicking fabrics
  • Choosing activities that elevate your heart rate without making you sweat as much, such as Pilates
  • Moisturizing your skin before and after your workout, and showering in lukewarm or cool water after a workout
  • Making sure to hydrate with plenty of water during exercise to keep the body and skin hydrated
  • Doing workouts indoors in climate-controlled environments so as not to heat up too much



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