For most people, itchy skin is an annoying sensation that goes away quickly. But for those with atopic skin, it can be agony.
Atopic skin, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which the skin becomes so inflamed that it is itchy, dry, red, and irritated .
It is more common than we imagine, affecting more than 15% of the Spanish population, appearing in more than 90% of cases in young children.
Genetics are definitely a factor, but people with atopic dermatitis also have an imbalance in their immune system that leads to the release of inflammatory chemicals.
These chemicals not only trigger the symptoms of dermatitis, but also asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever); the three diseases tend to appear together, although experts do not know exactly why.
Research also shows that people with atopic skin have an abnormal skin barrier. It does not retain enough water, so it is very dry and allows irritants, microbes, allergens and toxins to enter the body, causing inflammation.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition, but there are treatments, and it is important to use them to keep symptoms under control.
It is also important to avoid scratching , as it can thicken the skin and cause scarring; If the skin is damaged, it becomes vulnerable to bacterial or viral infections such as impetigo (a contagious infection caused by staph or strep bacteria).
If your skin is burning and you can’t help scratching anymore, seek relief with these remedies as your first line of defense.
To reduce and prevent dryness
For mild cases of eczema, applying a special moisturizer for atopic skin may be enough to control symptoms and prevent future flare-ups.
Ceramides – lipid molecules – help retain water and keep it in the skin by improving the skin’s barrier function. Our skin contains ceramides naturally, but in people who suffer from atopic dermatitis there is less, so it is always a good addition to keep the skin hydrated.
Natural colloidal oatmeal is another ingredient that relieves dryness and irritation, and therefore is very useful in any sunscreen.
Apply the cream right after bathing or showering, after slightly drying, and while it is still wet (three to five minutes). Spread the special cream all over the body, not just the affected areas. Repeat the application at least once a day, or when the skin feels dry.
To decrease inflammation and itching
The hydrocortisone , which is found in many creams for atopic skin, is a mild steroid that reduces swelling, itching, pain and redness, and is available in a concentration of 0.5 percent over the counter (higher concentrations should be prescribed by a doctor).
The clobetasone butyrate , other topical steroid is in other recipes creams, and some research suggests that is more effective than one percent hydrocortisone to treat eczema.
Apply a thin layer of cream once or twice a day, only on the affected areas. It is not recommended to apply it on damaged skin or anywhere else that may be infected.
Because excessive use of steroids can thin the skin – in some cases, permanently – it is not recommended to use steroid-based creams for more than a week without the supervision of a physician; you will also have to stop using them once the condition clears.
To relief the itch
Atopic dermatitis almost always causes itching anywhere on the body, and while it may be tempting to scratch the affected areas of the skin, it should be avoided as much as possible.
The oral antihistamines can help combat the effect of histamine, one of the inflammatory chemicals released into the skin of individuals with atopic dermatitis.
But it is important not to depend solely on them, as they are only part of the solution. Most of them cause drowsiness, which can be a great solution at night, but not during the day.
Along with doctor-prescribed treatments, some tips and tricks can help you better control the urge to scratch. It is useless to order the person to “stop scratching” because the urge is often stronger than oneself.
Here are some tips to help soothe itching in children and adults:
In young children
It is recommended to keep your hands busy or leave them protected by cotton gloves overnight. You can also calm the baby with a massage or relaxing music. Offer him a stuffed animal so they can scratch it as many times as they want, instead of scratching himself.
In older children
You can involve the children in the solution by helping them build a real “scratch kit”. Most of the tools help to send a calming message to the brain thanks to the sensation of cold: sprinkling with thermal water, pressing the back of a spoon or a cold bag on the skin, etc.
You can try to customize these items and put them in the fridge for more effectiveness. Cold compresses can be placed on irritated skin, taking care to place a cloth over the skin to protect it from any cold burns.
Similarly, try using bags of frozen peas: the pearl structure helps to adapt to all parts of the body and produces a light massage.
Adults are also looking for solutions to stop scratching! Most of the methods described for children can be used in adults.
You can also try meditation or any other relaxation technique. Sometimes dry skin itches and needs to be soothed quickly: always carry an emollient product with you, put it on the nightstand, in your bag or in the refrigerator.
Finally, to limit the risk of infection and scarring due to itching, keep your nails as short as possible.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.