If you have atopic dermatitis (eczema), taking care of your skin is important for maintenance and treatment of the condition. Eczema is an allergic skin reaction resulting in a red, scaly, itchy rash. The rash often appears on the face, elbows, knees, hands or scalp. Triggers include allergens, overheating or sweating, emotional stress, food and contact with wool, pets or soaps.
Skin care starts with cleansing. If you have eczema, avoid drying soaps or harsh detergents. The average pH level (acidity or alkaline) of soap is 9 to 10. The skin’s normal pH level is 4 to 5. Because of this difference, soap increases the skin’s pH to an undesirable level and can worsen eczema symptoms.
It is best to use a non-soap cleanser because they are usually free of sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical creates soap’s foaming action and can irritate skin. Examples of non-soap cleansers include Dove® Sensitive Skin Unscented Beauty Bar, Aquaphor® Gentle Wash, AVEENO® Advanced Care Wash, Basis® Sensitive Skin Bar, CeraVe™ Hydrating Cleanser, and Cetaphil® Gentle Cleansing Bar.
Other skin care tips:
• When bathing or showering, avoid using anything that will scrape the skin, such as a washcloth, sponge, or loofah.
• Do not use bubble bath.
• Pat skin dry rather than rub.
• Moisturize immediately after bathing/showering to seal in moisture.
If you have eczema, check with your allergist / immunologist to determine a skin care plan that is right for you.
Find out more about skin allergies.
Podcast Episode: Winter Skin Care
This patient-centered episode discusses a hot topic that affects many of us: dry, irritated skin during the cold winter months. Priya J. Bansal, MD, FAAAAI, offers a treasure trove of skin care tips to help anyone, including those with eczema, learn how to prevent their skin from becoming dry, cracked, or irritated this winter. (December 9, 2019)
Click here to listen to the podcast.
This article has been reviewed by Andrew Moore, MD, FAAAAI