dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red
and itchy. Its common in children but can occur at any age.
Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare
periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma
or hay fever.
No cure has
been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-care
measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For
example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants,
apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.
To help reduce
itching and soothe inflamed skin, try these self-care
oral allergy or anti-itch medication.
nonprescription allergy medicines (antihistamines) such as
cetirizine (Zyrtec) or fexofenadine (Allegra). Also,
diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) may be helpful if itching
is severe. But it can make you drowsy, so its better for
diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related
infections. Add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach,
not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub
filled with warm water measures are for a
U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes.
Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for
about 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head. Rinse, pat dry and
moisturize. Take a bleach bath no more than two or three times
a week. Apply an anti-itch cream or calamine lotion to the
nonprescription hydrocortisone cream, containing at least 1
percent hydrocortisone, can temporarily relieve the itch.
Apply it to the affected area before you moisturize. Once your
reaction has improved, you may use this type of cream less
often to prevent flare-ups.
your skin at least twice a day.
moisturizer all over while your skin is still damp from a bath
or shower. Pay special attention to your legs, arms, back and
the sides of your body. If your skin is already dry, consider
using oil or lubricating cream.
Cover the itchy
area if you cant keep from scratching it. Trim nails and
wear gloves at night.
affected area with bandages and dressings helps protect the
skin and prevent scratching.
Take a warm
bath water with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal
oatmeal a finely ground oatmeal that is made for the
bathtub (Aveeno, others). Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then pat
dry and apply medicated lotions, moisturizers or both (use the
medicated form first).
soaps without dyes or perfumes.
Be sure to
rinse the soap completely off your body.
Hot, dry indoor
air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. A
portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace adds
moisture to the air inside your home. Keep your humidifier
clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
smooth-textured cotton clothing.
irritation by avoiding clothing thats rough, tight,
scratchy or made from wool. Also, wear appropriate clothing in
hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating.
stress and anxiety.
other emotional disorders can worsen atopic dermatitis.
Acknowledging those and trying to improve your emotional
health can help. See your health care provider if your atopic
dermatitis symptoms distract you from your daily routines or
prevent you from sleeping.