Skin is the body’s largest organ and requires a great deal of attention. Additionally, in case of Atopic Dermatitis, it needs to be treated nicely especially in extreme temperatures.
Atopic dermatitis commonly known as the AD is a type of eczema characterized by dry skin and persistent itching. The itch is irritating and once it starts; the condition worsens and you are at a greater risk of infection. Although AD has no permanent cure, it has different treatment options which can lead to a good quality of life including better sleep.
Typically AD needs no lab test for diagnosis as the doctor usually does it by either examining the skin or performing a patch test. The AD is persistent hence the treatment continues for months or years. Even if the condition is under control, rashes and other symptoms may return.
There are excellent over-the-counter moisturizers and medicines that help ease the symptoms. Lotions, creams, and ointments are also available in the market. You need to change your skincare routine to suit the weather. For example, thick, soothing cream and petroleum jelly for dry and cracked skin in winter are good options.
Also, change the shower routine to retain the moisture lost during the shower. In summers, lotions are a good idea. To avoid getting sunburned use products with SPF. For short-term treatment, low potency treatments are available such as hydrocortisone creams which are generally available everywhere and used after a moisturizer to soothe a flare-up.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl is also helpful. And if the itch keeps you awake during the night, a slight sedative might help you doze off.
Excessive sweating in summers that collects in skin folds such as under armpits, the inner part of elbow, neck, below the chest, and back of your knees can lead to skin irritation. This is mainly due to sodium content in sweat.
Sweating profusely can further harbor bacteria which can worsen the condition. Therefore, keep a soft cloth to soak up the excess sweat. A doctor may recommend an antibiotic cream course to fight the antibacterial infection.
There are some prescribed medication options available as well for the patients with the AD with several topical steroids ranging from potency 1 to 7 depending on the condition.
There is a class of anti-inflammatory drug called topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCI’s) do not contain steroids but are carcinogenic (cancer-causing). There is a newer option for severe eczema known as dupilumab. It is used to treat people with severe AD who do not respond well to other treatments.
Some therapy options convenient for patients with the AD include phototherapy or light therapy which is a safe option.
The therapy is practiced on patients who do not respond to any other medications or their ailment flickers after the treatments. Treatment can be achieved with narrow-band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB). The therapy has long-term effects such as early aging and increased risk of skin cancer.
Another therapy for the AD is wrapping the affected area with corticosteroids and wet bandages. It is performed in hospitals since it requires expertise.
Counseling and relaxation may help people who scratch habitually.
Other than medications, the precautions you take at home is preferable. That includes choosing the right gear. In winters, hands are the most exposed body part which causes dryness and itching.
Wear appropriate gloves such as breathable cotton lining gloves as woolen gloves can irritate the skin. Leather gloves are also a good option. Wet, snow-soaked clothes can worsen the condition. Change the clothes ASAP and moisturize after. In summer look for lightweight and breathable clothing, avoid tight-fitting clothes. Temperatures are hottest between 10 am and 2 pm. Avoid going in the direct sunlight.
Using a humidifier in winters is a smart choice as it adds moisture to the air and ducks dryness. Choose mild soaps which are dye free and paraben free or perfume free. Emotional disorders such as stress and anxiety can also worsen AD.
Taking a warm bath using bath solutions such as baking soda and uncooked oatmeal is a fabulous choice. Soak in for 15 minutes and apply, moisturizer when the skin is still damp. Avoid scratching, choosing a good moisturizing lotion and applying itch cream or taking oral medications also helps.
Weird skin rashes and constant itching due to an Atopic Dermatitis can be very embarrassing for some people. Such people should seek medical advice or seek psychological guidance from counselors to deal with emotional and financial stress. Patients can also contact dermatologists using a reliable telemedicine platform to get answers to common queries.
Medications (both over the counter or prescription) are not recommended for children under the age of 2 due to their side effects. However, in severe cases, the doctor might prescribe such medications to the infant.
Rachael Everly is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on women’s healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @RachaelEverly for more updates.