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Six ways for coping with atopic dermatitis (eczema) from our dermatologist Jennifer Crawley

The following tips will help to prevent flare-ups of atopic dermatitis and help to minimise dry, cracked, scaly skin as a result of showering or bathing:
1. Keep your skin well hydrated with moisturisers. Hydrating lotions, ointments or creams help to seal in the moisture you have lost from your skin. Dr Crawley will advise you which products are most suitable for you and at what time of year.
2. Avoid trigger factors that cause atopic dermatitis to flare up. These can include soaps and detergents, dusty atmospheres where there may be moulds or dust mites, or clothes that cause you to sweat. Obesity and excess stress can also cause flare-ups. In children, dermatitis is made worse by certain foods such as eggs and milk and even soy and wheat. Indeed, children may have a food allergy that is causing their dermatitis.
3. Reduce the amount of time that you expose your skin to water. If you are taking a shower, make it brief and use a dermatological cream or soap, instead of regular soap. If you are having a bath, soak your body in the warm water for just a couple of minutes rather than lying there for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Use water that is warm and not too hot.
4. Avoid swimming for too long in pools where the chlorine products are very harsh on your skin and help to dry it out. This can make atopic dermatitis (eczema) worse.
5. Avoid detergent soaps, deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps that contribute to removing the natural oils from your skin and make it drier. Choose mild soap lotions recommended by Dr Crawley.
6. Make sure that after your skin has been in contact with water that you gently dab it dry. Do not rub the skin too much as this can irritate existing areas of eczema. Rehydrating your skin with moisturiser while it is still damp will help the absorption.

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