Atopic dermatitis is the most common chronic, recurring skin disorder that results in dry, easily irritated, itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis is characterized by intense itching and a rash located on cheeks in infants and flexures (elbow crease and behind knees) in older children and adults. It usually begins during infancy but occasionally can first develop in adulthood.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, relapsing disease, therefore, treatment include reactive management that targets acute flares with short-term treatment regimens and proactive management that includes long-term maintenance therapy. The most common skin medications used to treat atopic dermatitis are topical steroids and/or topical immunomodulators (TIMs). Make an appointment today to discuss treatment options with Dr Dele-Michael.
Good daily skin care is essential to controlling atopic dermatitis. Daily use of gentle cleansers and moisturizing emollients are important to prevent flare-ups. However, once you develop a flare-up, prescription medications are necessary to treat the skin rash.
• Take at least one bath or shower a day using warm, not hot, water for about 10 minutes.
• Avoid scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or loofah.
• Use a gentle cleanser, not soap (see list of gentle cleansers above). During a severe flare, limit the use of cleansers to avoid possible irritation.
• While your skin is still wet (within two minutes of taking a bath or shower), apply your prescription medication to the affected areas as directed and then liberally apply a moisturizer. This will seal in the water and make the skin less dry and itchy.
• Make sure you apply your prescription medication to the affected areas only. Some medicines are applied multiple times a day; you do not need to take a shower or bath each time you apply your medicine.
• Apply moisturizers to all areas of your skin multiple times a day to prevent dryness and itching
• Creams and ointments (thicker consistency) are more beneficial than lotions (more runny). Petroleum jelly is a good occlusive preparation to seal in the water; however, since it contains no water it works best after a shower or bath.
• Avoid scratching or rubbing the skin, instead, apply a moisturizer or cool gel pack whenever the skin feels dry or itchy.
• Wash all new clothes before wearing them. This removes formaldehyde and other irritating chemicals that are used during production and packaging.
• Use a mild detergent that is dye-free and fragrance-free such as All Free or Tide free
• Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets
• Wear garments that allow your skin to breathe. Open-weave, loose fitting, cotton-blend clothing may be most comfortable. Avoid wearing wool.
• Work and sleep in comfortable surroundings with a fairly constant temperature and humidity level.
• If you live in a cold climate locale, use a humidifier when you turn on the heat for the season.
Keep fingernails short and clean.
Atopic dermatitis is often associated with other “atopic” disorders such as asthma and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (seasonal allergies). Atopic dermatitis has a predilection for infants and young children, while asthma favors older children and pollen allergy predominates in teenagers. This characteristic age-dependent sequence is referred to as the “atopic march. These conditions may appear simultaneously or develop in succession.
During your consultation, Dr Dele-Michael will recommend the appropriate skin products for you.