modifications are the first line of defense in controlling eczema,
regardless of whether the eczema is mild, moderate, or severe.
Recommended by dermatologists, the following guidelines can help
reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups, which also may
decrease the need for anti-inflammatory medicine. Continuing to
follow these guidelines once the signs and symptoms clear can help
prevent further outbreaks:
1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Eczema is usually dry and
itchy, so applying moisturizers as needed to keep the skin moist is
part of an effective treatment plan. Frequent moisturizing locks in
the skinís own moisture to prevent dryness and cracking.
One of the best ways to lock in moisture is to apply moisturizer
after bathing. When bathing, care must be taken to avoid irritating
the skin. For tips on how to bathe and moisturize to help alleviate
visit Bathing and
Limit contact with anything that irritates the skin.
Soaps, bubble bath, perfumes, cosmetics, laundry detergents,
household cleaners, too much time spent in water, finger paints,
gasoline, turpentine, wool, a petís fur, juices from meats and
fruits, plants, jewelry, and even lotions can irritate sensitive
skin. Know what irritates your skin and limit contact with all that
does. Avoiding personal-care products that contain alcohol and not
washing hands too frequently also will help reduce irritation.
Avoid sweating and overheating.
The most common triggers of the scratch/itch cycle are sweating and
overheating. It is essential to prevent these situations whenever
Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
A sudden rise in temperature can cause overheating and sweating. A
drop in humidity can dry skin and lead to a flare-up.
a cold compress to curb the itch.
Scratching makes the condition worse and may puncture skin allowing
bacteria to enter and cause an infection. Gently applying a cold
compress to the area that itches can reduce inflammation and lessen
the desire to scratch.
decrease the likelihood that scratching will puncture the skin.
Keeping nails short and wearing cotton gloves at night may help
prevent scratching that punctures the skin while asleep.
Dress in loose-fitting cotton clothes.
Synthetic fabrics, wool, and other materials that feel rough to the
touch often irritate the skin and trigger a flare-up. Cotton and
cotton-blend clothes usually make skin feel better.
Double rinse clothes, and wash new clothes before wearing.
Laundry detergents can trigger flare-ups. Using a fragrance-free,
neutral pH detergent and double rinsing clothes can help prevent
flare-ups caused by laundry detergent. It also may be helpful to
wash new clothes before they are worn as washing removes excess dyes
and fabric finishers, which can irritate the skin. Tags should be
removed, too, as these can rub the skin, causing irritation.
9. Reduce stress.
Stress reduction plays a key role in preventing eczema flares. In
todayís fast-paced world, reducing stress can be challenging;
however, there are ways to effectively reduce stress. For more
information about how to reduce stress, visit
10. Follow a
prescribed treatment regimen.
Moisturizing and using medications as directed by a dermatologist go
a long way toward keeping flare-ups at bay.
For Atopic Dermatitis Only
Since atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that occurs in
people who have an inherited predisposition to allergies, such
as asthma, hay fever, or food allergies, the following also can
help prevent a flare-up:
exposure to environmental triggers.
Pollens, molds, mites, and animal dander can cause flare-ups.
pollen and mold counts are high, limit time outdoors. To help
eliminate flare-ups from mites and animal dander,
the guidelines in
Around the Home.
12. Find out if any food(s) triggers the atopic dermatitis.
If you suspect a food allergy is a trigger, be sure to tell your
dermatologist. Tests can be run to determine which, if any, food
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology