Eczema, a skin disease marked with skin irritations, itchiness and rashes, has several types, the most common of which is sometimes called atopic dermatitis.
Most therapies for atopic dermatitis eczema are more of disease management since it has no specific cure.
These therapies, even if recommended by dermatologists, are mostly to reduce flare-ups of the disease. However, they do help cut down the need for more medication and help improve response to treatment.
Unfortunately, doctors find that patients and caregivers do not necessarily follow the guidelines given. Often, the reasons given were mostly misconceptions about skin care and on eczema itself.
The following are some of the prevailing myths about the disease and the real score about them.
Minimize bathing (myth)
People always associate bathing with drying of the skin. Therefore, common sense tells them to keep the activity to a minimum.
Dermatologists tell us that people with atopic dermatitis have excessively dry skin. Hydrating the skin would need taking short daily baths in warm (not hot) water, using mild or non-irritating soap.
This daily bathing hydrates the skin, which can reduce flare-ups. For severe cases, patients should even take 3 short baths daily. After some initial discomforts (open skin sores are painful when touched by water), patients tend to get relief.
Moisturizers give moisture to the skin (myth)
Many people believed that moisturizers add moisture to the skin and can be applied at any convenient time.
Dermatologists advise eczema sufferers to apply moisturizers within 3 minutes right after bathing to lock in the moisture in the skin. The patients are also advised to continue applying moisturizers throughout the day in dry areas of the body.
For the record, moisturizers do not add moisture to the skin. They actually seal in the bath water and preventing its evaporation, the reason why it is effective when applied within 3 minutes after bathing.
Presently, there are now new creams available called barrier repair moisturizers. Generally, they are to be applied twice daily to flare-prone skin and can be used along with traditional moisturizers.
They do not only reduce water loss, they also help rebuild the skin. Patients report that they also help calm the burning and the itching.
Avoiding allergens prevents flare-ups (myth)
Patients complain that if they can identify their allergens, their miseries with eczema would vanish. The rule of thumb would be to simply avoid it.
Dermatologists, however, declare that avoiding the allergens (substances that makes patients allergic) cannot exactly control atopic dermatitis. The real chance is to manage the disease with a multi-faceted approach.
This would include proper skin care, correct usage of medication, and avoiding the allergens. A trigger that irritates the skin need not be the allergen itself.
Detergents, smoke, soaps, skin care products with alcohol, rough-textured clothing are just some atopic dermatitis flare-up triggers. They vary from one person to another. What is important is to know the trigger material.
Doctors stress that skin care is one good starting point in managing atopic dermatitis eczema. With guidelines from a dermatologist, a patient can discover the possible relief of his malady with confidence and less stress.