Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It is common in children but may occur at all ages. Atopic dermatitis is prolonged (chronic) and tends to flame periodically and then decreases. It may be accompanied by asthma or hips.
No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-help measures can alleviate itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid hard soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments and moisten the skin.
To help reduce itching and relieve inflamed skin, try these self-measures:
• Take an oral allergy or anti-skid medication.
Alternatives include non-prescription allergy medicine (antihistamines) – such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may also be helpful if itching is difficult. But it can make you drowsy, so it's better for bedtime.
• Take a bleach bath.
A dilute bleach bath reduces bacteria on the skin and related infections. Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40 liter (151 liter) bath filled with warm water. The measures apply to a US standard size filled in drainage holes. Bleed from the neck or only affected skin areas for about 10 minutes. Do not dunk your head. Rinse, pat dry and moisturize. Take a bleach bath no more than two or three times a week.
• Apply an anti-itch cream or kalamine lotion to the affected area.
A hydrocortisone cream without prescription, containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone, can temporarily relieve the clays. Apply it to the affected area before you moisten. Once your reaction has improved, you can use this type of cream less often to prevent inflation.
• Moisturizes the skin at least twice a day.
Use a moisturizer everywhere while your skin is still damp from bath or shower. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, consider using oil or lubricating cream.
• Avoid scratches.
Cover the itchy area if you can not keep it from scratching it. Trim nails and wear gloves at night.
• Apply cool wet compressors.
If you cover the affected area with bandages and dressings, you protect your skin and prevent scratches.
• Take a hot bath.
Sprinkle the bathing water with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal – a finely ground oatmeal made for the bath (eg Aveeno). Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then paste and apply with medicated lotions, moisturizers or both (use medicated form first).
• Choose mild soaps without any dyes or perfumes.
Be sure to rinse the soap completely off your body.
• Use a humidifier.
Warm dry indoor air can parchment sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. A portable humidifier or a coupled to the oven provides moisture to the air inside your home. Keep your humidifier clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
• Use cool, smooth textured cotton clothing.
Reduce irritation by avoiding clothing that is coarse, dense, scratch or made of wool. Also wear suitable clothing in warm weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating.
• Treat stress and anxiety.
Stress and other emotional disorders may aggravate atopic dermatitis. Admiting them and trying to improve your emotional health can help. See your health care provider if your atopic dermatitis symptoms distract you from your daily routine or prevent you from sleeping.