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Skin Care Tips for Individuals with Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Skin Care Tips Atopic Dermatitis EczemaIf you have atopic dermatitis (eczema), taking care of your skin is important. The skin usually acts a good barrier against chemical irritants and allergen proteins (for example dust mite) you regularly meet. In eczema the skin barrier is not as good, leading to your skin becoming inflamed, itchy and red. This is particularly the case in exposed areas, such as the face where the skin is thinnest, but also the hands, and skin bends around joints of the arms and legs. Triggers include allergens (dust mites, pets, pollens), overheating or sweating, emotional stress, and contact with wool/irritants, pets or soaps.

In some people, soaps and cleaners can disrupt the skin barrier further, making your eczema worse. This is because of the pH or chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent contained in many soaps and shampoos.  

For patients with eczema, we have a few simple skin care tips:
•    Use non-soap fragrance-free cleansers. Examples include Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, CeraVe™ Hydrating Cleanser Bar, and Cetaphil® Gentle Cleansing Bar.
•    Use fragrance free laundry detergents and consider adding an extra rinse cycle if you find your clothes still irritate your skin.
•    Avoid rubbing your skin with the towel, but rather patting it dry.
•    Use moisturizer immediately after bathing or showering to seal in the moisture. Don’t add moisturizers to the bath water. There is no evidence that it helps, and it will make the bath more slippery and difficult to clean.

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.

The AAAAI's Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

Podcast Episode: Winter Skin CareBansal

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.

Reviewed: 2/28/23