Managing Eczema

Other Skin Conditions, Skin Center
on February 29, 2012

Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is an uncomfortable, chronic condition. Eczema has no cure at this time; however, you can do many things to treat the symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. Remember to always follow your doctor’s recommendations and take medications as prescribed.

Managing eczema. Keeping the condition under control is the key to managing eczema effectively, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Some helpful eczema skin care, treatment and prevention tips include:

  • Warm water only — Exposure to water can irritate eczema symptoms. Bathe in warm or cool water only. Hot water is particularly irritating and causes itching to worsen.
  • Do not soak — As lovely as a hot bath can feel, it will exacerbate eczema and dry out the skin further.
  • No soap — Soaps and detergents are drying and irritating. Many people are sensitive or even allergic to soaps and their additives. A dermatologist-approved soap substitute is the best bet for good hygiene and skin care with eczema.
  • Moisturize — Emollients soothe the sensitive skin of eczema and help retain moisture, especially right after a bath or exposure to water. Be sure to check with your doctor before selecting a product. Avoid fragrance and unnecessary additives when making a moisturizer choice.
  • Dye-free, fragrance-free — When laundering clothes, sheets and towels, avoid harsh detergents. Select non-biological, dye-free and fragrance-free laundry products. Do not use fabric softener and add a second rinse with clear water. Many machines have a setting just for this purpose.
  • Non-irritating fabrics — Anything that is worn next to the skin should be non-irritating cotton or silk. Wool and manmade fibers can cause itching and lead to scratching. Bedding and toweling must also be made of cotton or silk.
  • Avoid overheating — Sweating and being too warm worsen eczema symptoms. Keep your environment as cool and dry as possible.
  • Limit pet dander and dust exposure — Pet dander is an irritant to people living with eczema. Keep animals off bedding to reduce the exposure. Keep the environment as dust-free as possible.