Atopic dermatitis is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It is most common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting and your skin can flare up periodically. Here are some facts and fiction about atopic skin.
1. Keep washing your skin to reduce inflammation.
False: Frequent washing and hot water can harm skin, making eczema unbearable. Every time we jump in a shower or bath, a thin layer of our protective hydrolipidic layer is washed off, so limit showers/baths to once a day and only use an eczema-specific emollient soap or gel. And once you step out, don't rub your skin dry, as it'll only irritate and burn your skin. Dry off by gently patting your skin with a towel.
2. Atopic skin conditions can be genetic.
True: Between 50 and 70% of children with atopic skin have a family member who also suffers from the condition. There's an increased risk if both parents have an atopic skin condition in their families.
3. Atopic dermatitis can be cured.
False: Atopic dermatitis is chronic, with flare-ups that come and go. Each case is different and there's no age-related evidence to show if or when it will go away. Most of the time atopic dermatitis disappears during childhood, but in some cases it can continue into adulthood.
4. Some treatments can help sooth irritated skin.
True: Dermocorticoids are a life saver when it comes to atopic skin and can progressively reduce inflammation caused by eczema. But you should follow your GP's advice: applying the correct dose and following your treatment plan to the letter is essential!
5. Atopic dermatitis can spread with touch.
False: Atopic dermatitis is benign and not contagious.
6. Moisturisers can help atopic skin.
True: Moisturising morning and night is one of the best ways to soothe your skin! Atopic skin needs to be nourished daily. Opt for soothing, hypoallergenic, hydrating creams - vaseline-based or cold creams work a treat.
7. Soaps are good for atopic skin.
False: Atopic skin hates soap! It'll irritate and strip your skin. Go for emollient, pH neutral shower gels that will both instantly moisturise and soothe your skin.
8. Exfoliation helps atopic skin
True and false: Scrubs get rid of dead cells and allow our skin to breathe. However atopic skin is ultra-sensitive! So only apply gentle, fine grain scrubs that won't strip off your skin's protective barrier. For example, the L’Oréal Paris White Perfect Anti Dullness Scrub gently removes dead skin cells without drying your skin out. The mild scrub unclogs your pores and refines your skin’s texture.
9. Use oil based skincare products
True: Oils and lotions are gentle cleansers; avoid washing your face with tap water at all costs! Lotions soothe and hydrate, whilst lipid-rich oils help regenerate our skin's natural barrier.
10. External factors can affect your atopic skin
True: Stress, pollution, smoking and temperature changes can all harm our skin. Apart from leaving us will dull complexions, they can aggravate eczema. Keeping your skin protected is key! Start in the morning by applying a rich, soothing cream to both your face and body. For added protection, treat yourself to a nourishing face mask once a week.
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