Atopic Skin 101
What Is Atopic Skin?
If you are an adult with Atopic Dermatitis or have a child with the disease, you know firsthand how it makes the skin crawl with uncontrollable itching, dryness and sensitivity. It may help to know that you’re not alone: over 17 million Americans suffer from this severe form of Eczema, which shows up as red, scaly rash that usually appears on face and/or body. It may also be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Extreme itch is a top symptom, which can trigger a vicious cycle of scratching, inflammation and bleeding. These rashy flare-ups also interfere with your body’s ability to protect itself and retain moisture, and your skin may develop painful cracks and fissures—and lead to infection.
Recognizing The Difference
- Eczema is a general term to describe an itchy rash or inflammation of skin. It originates from a Greek word meaning "to erupt" or "to boil.”
- Atopic means "prone to allergy" and describes a severe form, and most common type of Eczema.
Did You Know
Over 30 million Americans1 suffer from Eczema, an inflammation of the skin that causes dryness, itching, redness, sleep deprivation and a host of other adverse effects.
Managing Atopic Skin
Good skin care habits will protect your skin and minimize rashy, itchy outbreaks. Follow the tips below to help keep hydrated.
Promote an Ideal Healing Environment
STOP THE BLEEDING
Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth, tissue or gauze.
CLEANSE THE LESION
Use water to help maintain a clean area around the wound.
USE A TREATMENT CREAM
Creams with antibacterial properties help promote healing.
Healing process takes time, it may take months and even up to a year.
FEED YOUR SKIN
Vitamins C and A, found in fruits and vegetables, are essential nutrients for the healing process.
Avoid Common Mistakes
DON’T DRY OUT A WOUND
Keeping skin hydrated speeds up healing and minimize potential scarring, so cover it with ointment and a bandage.
AVOID THE SUN
Protect any surgical scars with high protection sunscreen, formulated for delicate areas, to prevent hyperpigmentation.
DON’T PICK OR SCRATCH A SCAB
Scabs act as a natural protective band aid while skin heals underneath.
Did You Know
70% of people with Atopic Dermatitis have a family history of the condition2.
Where It Appears
- Face: Chin and cheeks
- Trunk: Chest and back
- Limbs: Outer arms and legs
- In folds and creases: Neck, wrists, elbow
- Areas that bend: Inner elbows and knees
How To Massage Atopic skin
Soothe and hydrate from head-to-toe with this recommended technique. Get maximum benefits by making it a regular part of the post-bath, pre-bedtime.
Warm an emollient cream in your hands. Starting with legs, gently apply cream, massaging from ankles to thighs.
Rub arms, applying gentle pressure from wrist to armpits.
Place both palms on the tummy and make upward circular motions. When you reach the neck, encircle hands around shoulders.
In a sitting position, lightly rub back and nape of the neck, going all the way up to ears.
Gently sweep fingers along contours of the face.
Finish with hands and feet, applying light pressure with your thumbs.
Did You Know
An emollient is an ingredient that increases moisture levels; look for essential fatty acids to help restore skin's barrier.
Break The Itch-Scratch Cycle
Atopic skin is extremely itchy, so the natural instinct is to scratch it. However, the more you rub your skin, the more damaged and itchy it becomes.
ABCDE’s of Dry, Itchy
Although scratching provides temporary relief, it compromises skin's protective function, allowing for allergens and irritants to break through which triggers more itching. Practice these ABCDE's to help break the cycle.
Food allergies are very common in young children with Eczema. Your doctor may recommend evaluating allergies to determine whether any foods should be eliminated from the diet.
A bath is meant to cleanse and prepare skin for cream, but can be a source of irritation since soap and water can strip the skin. Use a gentle soap-free cleanser, keep bath time short (10 minutes, tops) and water warm (93˚F, max) to prevent itching.
Carpet, Curtains And Cottons
Dust mites are a major trigger, so avoid fabrics that harbor them like carpet and curtains. Wear soft fabrics, like cotton, that won’t irritate skin, and be sure to wash with a gentle, fragrance-free detergent.
Keep little hands busy with fun activities so they aren’t tempted to scratch. Toys like blocks, puzzles or crayons can help distract your child during itchy moments. You should also keep your child’s fingernails trim and short to minimize damage.
The best time to apply an emollient moisturizer is when skin is still damp because it helps trap extra water. Use a nourishing cream or balm, free of parabens and fragrance, to help restore essential moisture.
Did You Know
There is no cure for Eczema, but symptoms can be managed with a proper skin care regimen.