5 Self-Care Tips for Atopic Dermatitis
Medically Reviewed by Madeline Hubbard, RN, BSN
Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. It’s a skin condition that causes dry, itchy rashes. Your doctor can prescribe medicines for atopic dermatitis — and you can also practice self-care for your symptoms at home. Learn about some effective home remedies for atopic dermatitis.
What Are the Traditional Treatments for Atopic Dermatitis?
While there’s no cure for this condition, there are many treatment options available to relieve symptoms like itchy, red rashes. One way to deal with atopic dermatitis is to figure out your triggers — or things that bring on a flare of symptoms. Different people have different triggers. Some common ones are scented soaps or lotions, laundry detergents, stress, dust and pollen.
To treat your symptoms, doctors usually recommend starting with topical creams, gels and ointments that you apply directly to irritated skin. These add moisture and help prevent itching and pain. You can buy these creams and ointments over the counter in your local pharmacy.
During an active flare, your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription steroid cream. Steroids can help ease inflammation caused by atopic dermatitis rashes, but they’re best for short-term use — long-term use may cause thinning of your skin. For severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend a steroid pill, ultraviolet (UV) light therapy or a newer treatment called biologic therapy. Ask your doctor which treatments are right for you.
What Are the Best Home Remedies for Atopic Dermatitis?
In addition to using moisturizing creams, there are several other home treatments that may help ease your symptoms. Just make sure you see a doctor for treatment if home remedies aren’t working for you.
- Sink into an oatmeal bath. Some people find relief from eczema rashes from colloidal oats. These aren’t the oats you might eat for breakfast — they’re a very finely ground powder that you mix into your bathwater. Bathing in colloidal oats can relieve itching and speed up recovery time from an atopic dermatitis flare.
- Try wet wrap therapy. Wet wrap therapy helps lock moisture into dry, itchy skin. First, apply a thick moisturizing cream just after you shower or bathe, while your skin is still damp. Then soak fabric or gauze in lukewarm water and wrap it around the affected skin. Then put soft, breathable cotton clothing over the wet wraps. Ask your doctor if wet wrap therapy is right for you, and how long to leave the wraps on for.
- Go fragrance-free. Many people find that fragrances in lotions and perfumes irritate their skin and lead to atopic dermatitis flares. Irritating fragrances and dyes are also found in hand sanitizers, soaps and laundry detergent. Opt for products labeled fragrance-free to avoid these potential triggers.
- Give oils and herbal creams a try. Certain oils, like sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil, may help moisturize skin and relieve itching. Calendula cream is another common home remedy for atopic dermatitis and other itchy rashes. You can buy these products over the counter at your local drugstore if you want to give them a try.
- Relax and manage stress. Stress can be a trigger for atopic dermatitis. Try stress-relieving habits like regular exercise, yoga and meditation.
Atopic dermatitis can be frustrating, but remember that there are treatments that can help you find relief. Try these at-home remedies for atopic dermatitis, and see your doctor if these self-care tips aren’t enough to ease your symptoms.