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Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common forms of eczema, affecting between 10 and 20 percent of people worldwide. It is characterized by an itchy rash that comes and goes.

The cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown and the condition appears to involve an abnormal response of the body's immune system to irritating substances. This results in an inflammatory response that causes itching and scratching. Although not contagious, it cannot be cured. The condition can be managed with treatment and avoidance of substances that trigger the condition.

Minimizing Flare-ups  

Most individuals with atopic dermatitis tend to suffer from dry skin so many of the same strategies used for managing dry skin should be applied in the management of atopic dermatitis. These include:

- Taking short, warm (not hot) baths using mild, non-irritating soaps only when needed
- Identifying and trying to avoid possible triggers. Anything that irritates the skin, whether laundry detergent, soap, smoke or rough textured clothing, may be a potential trigger. They vary amongst individuals so it's important to pay attention to learn what to avoid.
- Moisturizing. Moisturizers should be applied within 3 minutes of bathing as they work by helping to trap moisture in the skin, preventing its evaporation. Reapply as often as is needed throughout the day. Consider the use of barrier repair moisturizers such as [Link Removed]. Barrier repair moisturizers are a new type of moisturizer that not only stop moisture loss but also help to rebuild the skin. They often contain often contain ceramide, a lipid that naturally occurs in the outer layer of skin and helps the skin form a protective barrier.  

Moisturizers may also contain urea, which is part of the skin's natural moisturizing factor (NMF). Urea works both as an exfoliant and as a humectant (an agent that attracts moisture). It may be found in [Link Removed].

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • Sharmani - thank you so much!! I have to use unscented laundry detergent and only one of the unscented brands works for me. I also use unscented moisturizing bath washes. I had no idea that dry skin was tied into the problems I have with my skin. I’m checking out these products, the barrier repair looks very hopeful and I see I need to exfoliate too, checking that as well. Again, thank you, you are an Angel!!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mjmurphy wrote Apr 29, 2009
    • Ok, the Impruv cream will definitely work with my skin. I’m going to try it first. I am so excited!! you have given me hope for my skin issues!!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote May 8, 2009
    • MJ

      Essential fatty acids (fish oil) can also help taken internally. Studies have shown that they can help to alleviate eczema. You may also want to consider supplementing with them.  

      One of the most useful products I find for my dry skin is Lac-Hydrin - it helps to get rid of the roughness and scaly skin so that more emollient agents (Impruv, Iso Urea, etc) have a better chance to do some good.


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Aggiemom08 wrote May 10, 2009
    • MJ, my niece was an eczema sufferer also.  She and my sister have many chemical sensitivities.  Cherie has been eczema symptom free 3-4 years now.  They found, after changing brands, that the household products they were using contributed, even though the laundry detergent was dye and perfume free.  Formaldehyde, a common and cheap preservative was contributing to the irritation.  She also uses a skin therapy creme more effective than Eucerin.

      I agree with supplementing with fish oil, make sure it’s pure.  I use one that doesn’t have a fishy taste or odor.  

      I ’m not familiar with the products Sharmani recommended.  Hope they help you be comfortable.  : )

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