Dermatitis is a rash that causes itching, but the reverse is also true, with scratching being the one that causes the rash. Although scientists do not fully know what causes dermatitis yet, it appears to be an abnormal inflammatory reaction of the immune system in response to an irritating factor — whatever it is, from dust mites to rough tissues and even detergents. If you have dermatitis, the best thing you could do is to visit a dermatologist and try to control the itching and dryness at home by keeping the skin well hydrated. Here are some treatments that you can follow day-by-day to relieve dermatitis.
Avoid dry air
Dermatitis is worsened by dry air, especially in winter, in homes and offices with central heating. As dry air tends to exacerbate the itching of eczema or dermatitis, keeping humid air indoors should be a priority for sufferers, says dermatologist Howard Donsky.
Take baths with warm water
A warm bath helps cleanse and moisturize the skin without subsequently drying it. On the other hand, steam baths and showers lasting more than 10 minutes are a no-no. When wiping water from your body, dab the skin with a towel rather than rubbing it. Use a body lotion for the next three minutes after getting out of the bathtub as the fat in it keeps the water inside the skin.
Change your soap
Most dermatologists are against regular soap and especially scented soap; even baby bath products can irritate the skin. Your pharmacist or doctor can recommend other substitutes, so you may need to try different types of soaps before finding the right one.
Take a bath with rice flour
For additional soothing treatment, Dr. Donsky recommends adding products containing colloidal oatmeal to the bathwater or even using rice flour as a soap substitute. The term “colloidal” means that the cereal has been grounded so finely that, when mixed with water, it remains in suspension. Pour two cups of collodion oatmeal into the tub with warm water. To use it as a soap substitute, put it in a cloth handkerchief, tie the ends with an elastic band, soak it in water and use it like a sponge.
Metal salts such as aluminum chloride, aluminum sulfate, and zirconium hydrochloride can irritate the skin and are active ingredients in many antiperspirants. You can try L’Occitane Cooling Deodorant, without aluminum, formulated with ingredients from organic farming.
Use refreshing calamine lotions
One of the main ingredients in calamine lotion is zinc oxide. Zinc is known as a beneficial treatment for itchiness because it inhibits mast cell degranulation while reducing the secretion of histamine that contributes to itching. Also, with its strong antibacterial and antioxidant action, topical zinc oxide has also been used in treating atopic dermatitis. Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream is a good one!
Wear cotton clothes
Wear cotton clothing directly on the skin, which is much better than polyester and even wool. Avoid fabrics made of synthetic fibers that itch, as well as tight and uncomfortable clothing.
Test your diet
Food allergies can play an essential role in triggering atopic dermatitis. It’s been known that multiple food allergens may serve as triggers for dermatitis. If you suspect that any of the foods you usually eat hurt your skin, avoid it and observe the effect.
Increase endurance by consuming omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent allergies and inflammation, both associated with dermatitis.
Avoid sudden changes in temperature
If you have eczema, sudden changes in temperature can be a problem. Leaving a warm room in the cold winter air can trigger itching. You can best protect yourself by wearing several layers of cotton clothing and avoiding hot baths.
Look for emollients that contain urea
Urea-containing emollients are good enough to soothe itching caused by eczema. Urea is a stripping agent, and it’s used when the skin is thickened due to rubbing and scratching. Participants reported skin improvement more frequently with urea‐containing cream than placebo in a study that involved 129 patients. Thus, products that contain urea are worth a try.
Beware of baby lotions
The baby lotion is not always the most suitable for eczema. They usually have a high water content that can keep the skin dry and irritated when the water evaporates. On the other hand, some perfumes and active ingredients in children’s lotions, such as lanolin and Vaseline, are common causes of skin allergies. Instead, use simple emollients, such as aqueous cream or emulsions. E45 Dermatological Cream Treatment is suitable for dermatitis or other dry skin conditions.
Drink Oregon grape root tea
This study’s data indicates that a proprietary form of Mahonia aquifolium is effective and well-tolerated in people with mild to moderate psoriasis. Chronic dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis can improve if you use this herb for long periods. Put one tablespoon of dried root and 250ml of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and drink every morning.
Consinder Chinese herbs
Several small-scale experiments in the West have highlighted the somewhat beneficial effect of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and treat dermatitis. The plants are consumed in the form of tea or are mixed into skin creams. However, there are some scientific reports of liver damage caused by the use of herbal preparations, and suspicions have been raised that potent steroids have been secretly introduced into “herbal” creams. It is best to avoid such things if you do not get them from a licensed practitioner or dermatologist.
Antihistamines lessen the symptoms of classic allergies such as headaches, runny nose, and itching. Over-the-counter antihistamines can be useful for eczema. They reduce itching because they prevent histamine from reaching sensitive skin cells and causing them to become inflamed. The authors of this study state that although antihistamines are often used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, little objective evidence exists to demonstrate pruritis relief. However, follow the recommendations on the label and remember that some antihistamines cause drowsiness.
Wash once, rinse twice
When washing your skin, thoroughly remove all traces of detergent with a thorough rinse. Do not use too much shower gel, and always use the second rinse cycle to remove all traces. If you have sensitive skin, avoid biological detergents based on enzymes. In case you use fabric softener to soften your clothes, buy one recommended for such skin.
Keep an eye on your eyes
In a 20-year study of 492 subjects, 13% of people with atopic dermatitis developed cataracts over time. Undeniable, there is a higher incidence of cataracts in people with atopic dermatitis. That is why it is good to go to the ophthalmologist regularly.
Cold, wet compresses can help soothe the itching associated with eczema. Use cold milk instead of water because it’s much calmer. Pour milk into a glass with ice cubes and leave it for a few minutes. Then soak a gauze compress in milk and apply it on irritated skin for 2-3 minutes. Moisten the compress again and repeat the procedure for about 10 minutes.
When to see a doctor
When eczema is severe and home remedies and over-the-counter medications do not calm the itching, see a doctor. There are many medications that only your doctor can recommend. At the same time, a doctor is the only one able to rule out other medical causes of dermatitis.