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Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema): Symptoms, Triggers, And Home Remedies

Atopic dermatitis is severe eczema with symptoms like dry, scaly skin, redness, itching, rashes, etc. Dry skin, extreme weather conditions, stress, infections, etc are some of its triggers. Medically, it is often treated with creams, corticosteroids, antihistamines, and phototherapy. Taking care of the skin, managing stress, wearing loose cotton clothes, trying sea salt baths, and using lavender are some home remedies that may help.

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a term for several types of skin conditions that involve swelling. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is not contagious and is most common in babies and children. As children grow, the condition can get worse or may even go away completely. If it exists and gets worse, then it exists even in their adulthood.

The exact cause of this skin condition is not known; however, environmental and genetic factors are considered responsible for the skin condition.

The most common symptom of atopic dermatitis is severe itching. However, there are other symptoms that this skin condition shows. Let’s examine the other common symptoms.

Common Symptoms Of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis usually appears on the cheeks, arms, and legs but can occur in any other part of the body. Due to severe itching, the skin can become damaged from repeated scratching or rubbing. Other common symptoms of the skin condition are as follows:1

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Cracks behind the ears
  • Rash on the cheeks, arms, or legs
  • Open, crusted, or “weepy” sores

These symptoms may get worse with the triggers that are present in the environment or due to the lack of proper care. Let’s examine these factors that may worsen the skin condition.

Common Atopic Dermatitis Triggers

Knowing the severity of this skin condition, it is important to know how to manage atopic dermatitis to reduce or prevent the condition from worsening. The following are common triggers present in the surroundings that should be avoided or controlled to reduce atopic dermatitis symptoms:2

  • Dry skin: Dry skin can easily turn scaly, rough, and tight. This may worsen the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
  • Hot and cold temperatures: During the summers, your skin can get irritated due to the sweating and excess heat and may even cause prickly heat symptoms. During the winters, the skin tends to get dry and may cause it to itch.
  • Stress: Stress can cause the existing skin condition to get worse.
  • Infections: Exposure to bacteria, viruses, and fungi present in the environment like staph or herpes can cause infections that may trigger atopic dermatitis symptoms.
  • Allergens: Common allergens in the air like dust, pollen, mold etc. can cause allergic reactions that may cause the skin condition to flare up.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, especially in women, may worsen atopic dermatitis.
  • Daily products: Some daily products like soap, hand wash, sanitizers, detergents etc. can irritate the skin and cause burning or itching.

Therefore, to prevent the symptoms from getting worse, it is important to make sure that the mentioned triggers are avoided whenever possible.

Treating atopic dermatitis is only possible after consulting your doctor. Knowing what is making your atopic dermatitis worse is the first step to treat it the right way. Some may require medications while some may require creams that need to applied topically.

Let’s examine the available treatments that may heal the skin and prevent worsening of the atopic dermatitis symptoms.

Available Treatments For Atopic Dermatitis

Depending on the severity of the skin condition, the doctor will prescribe one or more medications to bring down the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Some of these include the following:

  • Skin creams or ointments: These are used to bring down the swelling, rashes, and even control the allergic reaction of the body toward an allergen.
  • Corticosteroids: These medicines may provide relief from the inflamed areas on the body. The redness, swelling, and itching that come with the skin condition may also be lessened.
  • Antibiotics: If you have atopic dermatitis with a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be used to treat the infection.
  • Antihistamines: These medicines may prevent an individual with the condition from scratching too much, especially at night.
  • Phototherapy: This is a light therapy that should be done under the supervision of a doctor. It uses a machine that allows narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) light to fall on the skin to reduce swelling and itching, increase vitamin D production, and fight bacteria on the skin.

Apart from these medical treatments, there are certain things you can do at home to control the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Let’s examine these home remedies in detail.

Home Remedies To Control Atopic Dermatitis

Here are a few basic ways you can control the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and make living with the skin condition better for you.

1. Take Care Of Your Skin Daily

A daily skin care routine is important for everyone; therefore, it is twice as important for an individual with atopic dermatitis. It is important to shower with warm water and not hot water.

After a shower, it is important to moisturize your skin with a cream or body lotion, either prescribed by the doctor or one that you have found which does not irritate the skin. If you want to go all natural with the moisturizer, coconut oil is always a good option.

2. Manage Stressful Events

As mentioned earlier, the levels of stress you take can have an adverse effect on your skin condition. Therefore, stress management is very important when it comes to controlling atopic dermatitis symptoms. You can practice meditation or yoga at home to free your mind from a stressful situation.3

3. Stick To Loose Clothing

Tight clothing can cause irritation to the skin. Therefore, it is advised to wear loose, cotton clothes to avoid discomfort. In addition, fabrics like wool and polyester can cause itching, so these should be avoided as well.

4. Try Dead Sea Salt Baths

Studies have shown that bathing in magnesium-rich salt solutions like Dead Sea salts can reduce skin inflammation and increase hydration.4

Ensure that the water is not too cold or not too hot as the symptoms may be worsened in extreme temperatures. Use warm water and pat dry with a dry towel.

5. Use Lavender Essential Oil

Disturbed sleep is a common effect of atopic dermatitis because of the constant itching. Other effects include anxiety, depression, and frustration. Lavender oil can help provide good sleep and reduce the levels of anxiety with its aroma.

Lavender oil when used with a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil, it can heal dry, itchy skin. Add a few drops of the essential oil to the carrier oil of your choice and apply it gently onto the skin.5

Apart from these remedies, if the skin does not have blisters, then cool, wet compresses may be applied to relieve itching.

Therefore, if you have atopic dermatitis, it is important to consult the doctor and follow the medical procedures and treatments to control it. A daily skin care routine along with a balanced diet may help control the symptoms of the skin condition.

Home remedies may take time and it is important to communicate them with your healthcare provider before you treat the condition on your own.

References   [ + ]

1. Atopic Dermatitis. National Eczema Association.
2. Atopic Dermatitis. National Eczema Association.
3. Recognizing the mind-skin connection. Harvard Medical School.
4. Proksch, Ehrhardt, Hans‐Peter Nissen, Markus Bremgartner, and Colin Urquhart. “Bathing in a magnesium‐rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin.” International journal of dermatology 44, no. 2 (2005): 151-157.
5. Lavender. University of Maryland Medical Center.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.