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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Eczema

General Guidelines for Managing Atopic Dermatitis

Making lifestyle changes can help some people manage eczema symptoms. These steps include:

Taking Care of the Skin

Daily skin care helps treat prevent flare-ups. It also helps prevent skin infections. People with atopic dermatitis should:

  • Apply moisturizers right after bathing.
  • Take brief baths or showers—no more than 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Avoid water that is too hot or cold.
  • Limit use of soap. Try non-soap cleansers instead.
  • Pat skin gently while drying.
  • Choose fragrance-free skin care products.
Avoiding Common Skin Irritants

Skin flares are often caused by skin exposure to:

  • Soaps or detergents
  • Solvents or chemicals
  • Paint
  • Bleach
  • Woolen or man-made fabrics
  • Skin astringents or other skin products with alcohol
  • Cosmetics or fragrances
Maintaining a Steady Temperature

Cool, stable temperatures and average humidity help prevent flares. Cold, dry weather should be avoided. Clothing should cover and protect the skin. Moisturizers also help protect skin after cold exposure.

Excess moisture can also trigger a flare. It helps to avoid steam baths, hot tubs, or excess sweating.

Limiting Exposure to Allergens

Many allergens trigger atopic dermatitis. It helps to:

  • Avoid or reduce exposure to allergic triggers, such as:
  • Dust
  • Animal dander
  • Mold
  • Insects or other pests
  • Keep the home clean and dry.

Limiting Emotional Stress

Stress is a strong trigger for flares. Some ways to ease stress are:

  • Counseling
  • Stress management classes
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
Not Scratching or Rubbing Skin

People with atopic dermatitis seem sensitive to itching. They may develop an “itch-scratch cycle.” The skin itches, the person scratches, and the skin itches even more. It helps to keep skin moisturized and try not to scratch or rub. Medicines may help ease itching.

References

Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed March 18, 2022.

Connor C. Management of the psychological comorbidities of dermatological conditions: practitioners' guidelines. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017;10:117-132.

Eczema and atopic dermatitis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/eczema-and-atopic-dermatitis/?adfree=true. Accessed March 18, 2022.

What is eczema? National Eczema Association website. Available at: http://nationaleczema.org/eczema. Accessed March 18, 2022.