A Quick Guide To Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis is a kind of eczema that affects more than 27 million people in the US. You'll know it by dry, flaky, red patches of skin on the face, legs, or arms. These areas are very tender; children and adults alike will grapple with sleep and severe scratching. If left untreated too long, it can lead to swelling and even infection.

Unfortunately, there is no remedy for AD, but treatments can significantly ease symptoms. Here are four of our picks:

  1. Plan an AD-friendly shower habit.  A good shower or bath habit is the framework of good atopic dermatitis care. Choose a mild cleanser, and make sure the water is lukewarm, not hot. No scrubbing, and avoid anything with harsh detergents.
  2. Moisturizer is king:  Dry skin makes AD ten times more harmful, so make sure you're using a great oil-based moisturizer as soon as you get in the shower. With AD, a super-effective moisturizer is needed. Ointments with higher oil content provide the most security but watch out for additives that could become irritants. If you aren't sure what products to use, your dermatologist will be able to make appropriate suggestions, or you can check the National Eczema Association's website for a list of recommended products. To avoid any negative reactions, make sure you do a spot test before applying the product to the rest of your body. Once you find the right moisturizer, buy extra and keep one next to every sink, and carry one with you in your day bag!
  3. Apply moisturizer right after your shower or bath:  After washing, it's vital to put on moisturizer as soon as possible to avoid dryness. If you use topical medications, go ahead and apply those, and then follow up with a quality- oil-based moisturizer. It's best to do this within three minutes of exiting the shower! 
  4. Educate yourself on topical treatments. Moisturizing is an excellent treatment, but sometimes you may need more than just lotion. There are topical creams available in several different varieties that may benefit you. Corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors (called TCIs), and PDE4 inhibitors are all topical cream remedies meant to get a handle on the body's out-of-control immune response and help minimize redness and swelling. Your dermatologist will be able to help you pick the right one, so if you're interested in what topical treatment would be the best for you, schedule an appointment.

There are different treatments available as well, including injections and light therapy, so if you want to know more about those, we'd love to talk with you. Please schedule an appointment today at our New York dermatologist's office, and let us help you be your best!

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