While I often give our handouts and make other suggestions to address your recurrent and/or chronic dermatitis (you might call if your itchy rash), I often tell people that the simple direction is “less soap, more moisturizers”. For less soap, sometimes it can be as simple as just using cleansers under your arms, breasts, groin areas (skin-to-skin areas), and perhaps your face, and just letting the water do the work on the rest of your body. The fact is, we tend to produce less oil on our skin as we get older, so this reduces the removal of that oil that happens when you shower! Putting on a moisturizer after bathing helps, especially if you can put it on when the skin is hydrated from the bath/shower!
Now, if fragrances are not a problem for you, that’s fine, but many people have a problem with them, so we generally recommend fragrance free products, though feel free to add them back and see if it causes a problem once you are under control.
I do advise to avoid fabric softeners (including fragrance free sheets in the dryer), as by definition, they are putting an added chemical on the clothes for either fragrance or wrinkle reduction. Fewer chemicals in contact with your body are better.
For the “rash” itself, we have likely prescribed some sort of steroid cream or ointment….these are stronger versions of what is known as hydrocortisone over-the-counter (OTC) that acts as an anti-inflammatory (makes the redness and itching better!). Please use it when needed as directed, but don’t use it as a preventive. Please let us know if what you’re doing is not helping in a week or two so we can revisit your problems and work to make these problems better!
This is usually an inherited skin condition that stems from a general sensitivity to allergens. For example, even a slight increase in dust or pollen counts can trigger an inflammatory cascade that will leave skin red and itchy. There is not a specific allergen identified as in contact eczema, but rather a general hypersensitivity to environmental triggers. If you were to place patients with atopic dermatitis in a plastic bubble, protected from the environment, their skin would clear almost entirely. Common triggers for atopic eczema include:
- Heat and sweating
- Pet fur and dander
- Wool and synthetic fibers like nylon
- Tobacco smoke
- Fragrances or colorants in shampoos, detergents, soaps, and moisturizers
Last updated : 2/10/2023