Atopic dermatitis is not only common but also easy to agitate and make worse. There are things that people can do who suffer from atopic dermatitis, especially as the seasons quickly shift from hot and dreary to cold and dry. Often, this skin condition is due to genetics, which can’t be changed, but there are behaviors and habits one can adopt to minimize the intense itching and inflammation.
Atopic dermatitis, better known as eczema, can be itchy, flaky, and incredibly irritating. Flare-ups can make life miserable. In some cases, flare-ups may become more frequent or more severe over time, and that is why those with this skin condition should have a toolkit of things they can do to help the symptoms. Taking a minute to determine if something in your lifestyle may be worsening dermatitis can have immense value! If your flare-ups are causing discomfort or causing concern, contact a licensed dermatologist for professional guidance on treating your condition.
Winter is No Friend of Atopic Dermatitis
You don’t look forward to the winter months if you have atopic dermatitis. Tropical climates don’t suffer as badly in most cases, but in climates that shift dramatically between summer and winter, the air can be miserable. Atopic dermatitis prevents the epidermis from locking in moisture to the skin, which is why the cold and low-humidity months can be challenging. The skin remains extra dry in winter and can last three to four months. Some individuals shower less frequently to avoid the drying water, and many have to change products during this season to manage their skin condition.
Dermatology Tip: Get your hands on a humidifier. Keep the filter clean and keep it running throughout the season. This is even more true if you run a heater or have the fireplace burning regularly. Kick up your daily moisturizer a notch and apply hydrating products multiple times daily. After showering, follow up immediately with a moisturizing product to lock in some of the moisture.
Stress Is Your Enemy
It is not exclusive to your skin’s health, and it is no mystery that stress continues to be tied to the health of the body and mind, so why wouldn’t skin be part of that? It is! The body will react to stress in various ways, which are not necessarily good for the skin. Anything chronic, like worry or fear, can cause the body to stay in a fight-or-flight state. The release of hormones to manage this short-term continues to spew out as the body’s immune system is suppressed. The result is inflammation and excessive cortisol and adrenaline produced and released by the body. Those who suffer from atopic dermatitis potentially increase the condition’s intensity because the inflammation can impair the skin’s barrier. Rashes may become an aggravated symptom.
Dermatology Tip: Stress is challenging to manage, but many find relief in breathing or yoga. Other patients may benefit from identifying scenarios where their stress level increases and being proactive about preparing. There are creams and products that can be used ahead of time if it is likely a flare-up will occur. Patients do not have to wait until an outbreak to seek solutions! If you find your atopic dermatitis is getting worse, seek professional help from a reputable dermatologist who can help get you some relief!
Skipping the Marathon Hot Shower
When you suffer from atopic dermatitis, sitting under a hot shower can feel very good…at the time. However, extended time under that steaming hot water strips the skin of moisture and oils. These hot, steamy showers can aggravate atopic dermatitis. Getting the skin wet and washing is good for removing bacteria and irritants from the skin, but treating the skin after the shower and the cleanser can be a contributing factor if you are experiencing flare-ups.
Dermatology Tip: Use a gentle cleanser in the shower and use warm water on the side of cool. Immediately after the shower, pat dry and add thick moisturizer. Avoid scented and fragrant lotions if you notice your skin reacting to them.
Choosing the Right Skincare Products
It is no surprise that the products people use significantly impact how their skin looks, feels and reacts. Choosing personal care products can be done through trial and error, but individuals may also choose to take the shortcut of working with a dermatologist to find products for their skin type sooner.
Detergents, soaps, lotions, and even diet can all contribute to atopic dermatitis flare-ups. Dermatologists recommend using products that have fewer ingredients and avoiding those with fragrances, dyes, and essential oils. Although some essential oils can be good, they can also be harsh. The best bet is to return any products in which your skin has an adverse reaction and stop using them immediately.
If you are in Atlanta, contact Buckhead Dermatology for affordable skincare solutions from Dr. Sherrie Straughn. She cares about her patients and has helped many clients overcome their daily challenges with atopic dermatitis.