Recommendations for patients with atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin disease characterized by dry skin and itching. Although it has a multifactorial origin, it is known that certain factors can be detrimental to patients with this disease, influencing the appearance of lesion outbreaks or the worsening of previously existing lesions. To keep these factors at bay, the following recommendations will be useful:

1. Sudden changes in temperature, excessive heat and dry environments can worsen atopic dermatitis. At home, we should ventilate the rooms well and try to keep the ambient temperature around 20-22ºC.

2. Sweating is also a detrimental factor in the management of atopic dermatitis. In summer, we will opt for light and breathable clothing made of natural fabrics. In winter, we should avoid overdressing.

3. Synthetic or wool clothing may be irritating to some patients with atopic dermatitis. It is preferable to use soft garments made of light fabrics such as cotton. As for footwear, we will ideally wear leather or cloth shoes with thread or cotton socks.

4. When washing clothes, it is recommended to use non-detergent soaps or mild detergents. An extra rinse can help to remove the remains of these products. Perfumed fabric softeners may cause irritation, and in such cases it may be appropriate to reduce or avoid their use.

5. For daily hygiene we should avoid irritating soaps, and opt instead for syndet products, oleogels or acid pH oil soaps.

Showers or baths should be short and with lukewarm water. Some bath products such as oatmeal powders can help soothe the itching.

6. After the daily shower we should pat dry with the towel, without rubbing and, on the still wet skin, apply moisturizing cream suitable for atopic skin or petroleum jelly.

7. Keeping the skin moisturized is essential for the control of atopic dermatitis. Always apply suitable moisturizers or petroleum jelly after bathing and reapply throughout the day if necessary. However, avoid using these products on damaged skin and skin with active eczema.

8. Sun exposure with adequate photoprotection may be beneficial, since ultraviolet radiation may improve symptoms. Sunburn should always be avoided.

9. In general, unless we have many lesions or an extensive outbreak, we can swim in the sea or pool. General photoprotection measures should not be forgotten.

10. The relationship between food and the development of atopic dermatitis is controversial, and therefore restrictive diets are not recommended and there are no contraindicated foods in general: you can eat anything.

If you notice a worsening after consuming a particular food, consult your dermatologist.