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Eczema types: Atopic dermatitis skin care

7 dermatologists’ skin care tips that can relieve symptoms of atopic dermatitis

7 eczema skin care tips from dermatologists

Eczema flare-ups can be distressing. To relieve discomfort from eczema, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists.

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, can make your skin itchy, raw, and sensitive. To relieve the discomfort and reduce flare-ups, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists.

  1. Moisturize after bathing and whenever your skin feels dry. Keeping your skin hydrated helps form a barrier between you and the world. To avoid irritating your skin, use a fragrance-free cream or ointment instead of a lotion.

  2. Choose fragrance-free skin care products. Fragrance can cause atopic dermatitis to flare. To avoid this, only use products labeled “fragrance free.” You may see the word “unscented” on a product. Avoid these products, too. Unscented means that the fragrance has been covered up. Although you won’t smell the fragrance in an unscented product, the fragrance can still trigger a flare-up.

  3. Test all new skin care products before using them. Fragrance is one ingredient that can cause a flare-up, but other ingredients can as well. To test a new skin care product, apply a quarter-sized amount of product to the skin on the inside of your arm. Do this every day for 7-10 days. If your skin is clear after that time, go ahead and use the product.

  4. Take short baths or showers to hydrate your skin. A 5-to-10-minute bath or shower in warm water can help hydrate your skin. If it’s any longer, the water can dry your skin. Immediately after bathing, apply your moisturizer while your skin is still damp. This helps to lock in moisture.

  5. Learn what causes your atopic dermatitis to flare. Skin with atopic dermatitis is very sensitive, so many everyday things can cause a flare-up. Finding what triggers your (or your child’s) atopic dermatitis and avoiding these triggers can help reduce flare-ups. To learn how to find triggers, go to the following page. NOTE: Although the following information is geared to helping parents find childhood triggers, anyone can use these dermatologists’ recommendations to help find their triggers. Eczema triggers.

  6. Choose eczema friendly clothing and laundry detergent. To avoid flare-ups, dermatologists recommend the following:

    • Wear loose-fitting 100% cotton clothing.
    • Avoid wearing tight clothing.
    • Never wear wool next to your skin.
    • Use laundry detergent that is fragrance free and dye free.
    • Wash new clothes before wearing them.
    • Buy clothing that comes without tags or remove the tags.
    • Cover seams in clothing that irritate your skin with silk.

    Using 100% cotton towels and sheets can also help reduce flare-ups.

    child sleeping in bed

  7. Protect your skin from extreme temperatures. Cold temperatures can dry your skin, which can make atopic dermatitis flare. When you get overheated and sweat, the sweat can also trigger a flare-up.

It’s also important to partner with a board-certified dermatologist. Your dermatologist knows how to create an individualized treatment plan. This plan includes eczema friendly skin care, help for managing what triggers your atopic dermatitis, and medication or phototherapy as needed.

By sticking to this treatment plan, most people can ease symptoms and reduce flare ups.

To find a dermatologist near you, go to Find a dermatologist.

Getty Images

Written by:
Paula Ludmann, MS

Reviewed by:
Elaine T. Kaye, MD, FAAD
Ata Moshiri, MD FAAD
J. Klint Peebles, MD, FAAD

Last updated: 10/10/23