14 Sep Atopic Dermatitis: 11 Rules to Follow to Stay Rash Free in 2022
Skin is our largest organ, so we need to take extra care of it. Many people suffer from atopic dermatitis, one of the eczema types. Eczema is the name for a group of non-contagious conditions that cause the skin to become itchy, inflamed, and/or have a rash-like appearance. Eczema is often referred to as ‘dermatitis’ as well ~ they basically mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.
There are seven types of eczema and it’s possible to have more than one type at a time:
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Contact Dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic/Pompholyx Dermatitis
- Nummular/Discoid Eczema
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Stasis/Varicose Dermatitis
As the title suggests, I am going to write about atopic dermatitis in this post. Why?
I am dealing with atopic dermatitis for more than 30 years and over this period the disease became an important part of my life. As strange as it sounds, atopic dermatitis taught me a lot about my body, power of the mind, and also quite a few tips and tricks for prolonging the periods between two flares, which is exactly what I’m going to share with you ?
What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema. It’s a chronic condition that can overlap with other types of eczema and can come and go in different episodes.
While the condition typically starts in childhood, usually in the first six months of a baby’s life, it may occur at any age. My condition started when I was three months old and has gotten worse through the years.
In the case of atopic dermatitis, our bodies are not able to maintain a healthy, protective barrier on the very top layer of the skin. Without a strong skin barrier, moisture can escape and bacteria, viruses and more can enter. This is why many people with AD have very dry and infection-prone skin.
To sum up, atopic dermatitis is an autoimmune disease that is not really dangerous, but it sure is unpleasant.
Speaking of unpleasant… The condition usually gets worse during wintertime (but could happen throughout the year), when air is dry and cold.
If you’re like me, you’ll try to prevent and prolong eczema flare-up as many times as possible. Following the below tips might help you do just that, so keep on reading ?
11 rules to follow, if you have atopic dermatitis:
1. Take shorter baths/showers with lukewarm water
Bathe or shower with lukewarm water (max up to 32°C) and soapless shower gel or oil. Using emollient instead of soap and lukewarm water instead of hot will help you prevent losing moisture, which is the main reason for itching.
For the last few years, I’m using A-DERMA Exomega Emollient Shower Oil. Although I’ve tried several others, I keep returning to this one, as it’s the only one that doesn’t irritate my skin even more during an outbreak.
For hair washing, I’m using Ducray Extra Gentle Dermo-protective Shampoo on regular basis and Ducray Elution Rebalancing Shampoo during the outbreak period.
Important ~ don’t forget about your hands! For hand washing, I was using Avene Xeracalm AD Ultra-rich cleansing bar, however, I really didn’t like the fact that it’s a bar ‘soap’ (personal preference ?). That’s why I switched to liquid Avene Trixera Nutrifluid Cleanser, but am currently testing also Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil. Both liquid options are actually showering gels, which I’m reusing for handwashing ?
2. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Apply rich moisturizer (thicker in winter, lighter in summer) after every shower and hand cream after washing hands to rehydrate your skin.
Always keep a tube of your favorite moisturizer close to you, especially in case of dry air (due to AC in hot summer or on an airplane, or in winter when humidity is usually lower than in summer). Perhaps even use a humidifier or use Avene Thermal Spring Water instead – I love it and have been using it for almost 20 years already! ? P.S.: The smallest packaging (50 ml/1.6 OZ) is great for long flights!
For body, I’m using A-DERMA Exomega Emollient Cream (less rich) during summer and A-DERMA Exomega Emollient Balm (richer texture) during winter.
For the face and neck area, I’m using Avene Cold Cream when I need more oily texture (usually in winter), but during summer I often use A-DERMA Exomega Emollient Cream also for my face.
When I need higher SPF protection, I use A-DERMA Protect AD SPF50+ for my body and Avene Anti-aging Suncare SPF50+ for my face. Both have a great, light texture and are waterproof.
3. Start using barrier cream
4. Drink water
It’s not really proven that drinking lots of water will help you keep your skin healthy, but drinking water is great anyway as it flushes the system and hydrates our body overall. I personally am not a big fan of water but do drink lots of unsweetened herbal tea throughout the year ??
5. Avoid products containing alcohol
Avoid skincare and makeup products that contain alcohol. The alcohol these products contain will dry out your skin, so all the work you invest in can be lost due to poor choice of products.
When it comes to makeup and makeup routine, the following is what I’m using on daily basis:
- Foundation: Avene Couvrance Fluid Foundation
- Foundation 2: I recently tested Avene B-Protect SPF 50+ and loved it ?
- Powder: Avene Couvrance Mosaic Powder in Natural
- Mascara: Clinique High Impact
- Lip balm: Avene Cicalfate Lip Balm
- Makeup remover: Avene makeup remover fluid 3in1
- Micellar lotion: Avene Micellar Lotion
6. Take care of your mental health
Anxiety and stress are common triggers that cause atopic dermatitis outbreaks, which then create more anxiety and stress… You get my point, right? Keeping your body and mind fit will help you prolong the time between the outbreaks.
As my stress level increased enormously in the past years, I’ve recently started practicing yoga, taking long walks almost every day, and taking a hike during the weekend.
7. Develop a consistent atopic dermatitis routine
Follow your skincare routine also when you don’t have an outbreak and when you’re traveling or on vacation. Keeping your routine will help you prolong the period between two outbreaks.
I know taking a cooler shower during cold winter doesn’t sound pleasant ~ and it sure isn’t. But it’s either this or the risk of an eczema flare. Since a cold shower only takes a few minutes and rashes can take up to 6 months to heal, the choice for me is obvious ?
8. Pay attention to allergens ~ know your triggers
Atopic dermatitis and allergies often go hand in hand. Pay attention to what you eat and drink and observe how your body reacts to it. When you notice certain foods are causing issues, it might make sense to take a food allergy or sensitivity test.
It took a long time before I figured out what suits me and what doesn’t. Ever since I eliminated gluten from my menu, my flares are way less frequent.
9. Use steroid creams as prescribed
However, sometimes it’s necessary to use corticosteroids. Always consult your doctor or dermatologist about the usage, but don’t be afraid to use them, when you have to.
10. Flirt with antihistamine, when needed
Itchiness can take many nights away from you. If you’re not well-rested, your body and mind will not be able to fight the flare-up as sufficiently as they could. Also scratching the rashes can end up in infection. Consult your doctor or pharmacist and ask for an appropriate antihistamine for you (some can make you really sleepy, so keep looking for the right one!). Taking antihistamine will help you keep the itchiness away.
11. Listen to you body
Last but not least, listen to your body carefully. Your body will always tell you what fits and what doesn’t.
Doctors and specialists can make conclusions based on what you tell them, but they are not with you all the time to observe your behavior and your body’s reactions to it. Remember ~ listen and take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in ?
How do you deal with your outbreaks? Do you use similar tricks to keep your skin rash free? I would love to hear your tips and tricks how to deal with atopic dermatitis, so let me know in comments down below ?
Thank you so much for reading!
I am not a doctor and the rules described in this post are a result of me listening to my body and discovering what helps. Ever since I stick to these rules, my skin flares up less frequently than in the past. It works well for my skin, however, it might not work for you. It is important that you get a diagnosis and treatment from your personal doctor or a dermatologist.
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