Atopic Dermatitis is a kind of eczema that affects more than 9.6 million children in the US and nearly 17 million adults. It’s characterized by dry, scaly red patches of skin on the face, legs, or arms. These areas are very itchy; little ones and adults alike will struggle with sleep and painful scratching. If left untreated too long, it can lead to inflammation and even infection.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for AD, but treatments can make a huge difference in controlling symptoms. Here are four of our favorites:
- Plan an AD-friendly shower routine: A good shower or bath routine is the foundation of good atopic dermatitis care. Choose a gentle cleanser, and make sure the water is warm, not hot. No scrubbing, and avoid anything with harsh detergents.
- Moisturizer is king: Dry skin makes AD ten times worse, so make sure you’re using an excellent oil-based moisturizer as soon as you get in the shower. With AD, a super-effective moisturizer is needed. Ointments with higher oil content provide the most protection but watch out for additives that could become irritants. Suppose you aren’t sure what products to use. In that case, your dermatologist will be able to make appropriate suggestions, or you can check the National Eczema Association’s website for a list of suggested, approved products. To avoid any widespread reactions, make sure you do a spot test before applying the product to larger areas of your body. Once you find a good moisturizer, buy extras and keep one next to every sink, and carry one with you on the go!
- Apply moisturizer right after your shower or bath: After washing, it’s crucial to put on moisturizer as soon as possible to avoid dryness. If you use topical medications, go ahead and apply those, and then follow up with a quality- oil-based moisturizer. It’s best to do this immediately – within three minutes of exiting the shower if you can!
- Educate yourself on topical treatments: Moisturizing is an excellent treatment, but sometimes it isn’t enough. There are topical creams available in several different varieties that may help you. Corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors (called TCIs), and PDE4 inhibitors are all topical cream treatments designed to get a handle on the body’s out-of-control immune response and help decrease redness and inflammation. Your dermatologist will be able to help you select the right one, so if you’re curious about what topical treatment would be the best for you, schedule an appointment.
There are other treatments available as well, including injections and light therapy, so if you’re interested in these, we’d love to get in contact with you. Schedule an appointment today at our New York and New Jersey offices, and get on the road to great skin!