5 ways to live peacefully with atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Atopic dermatitis is a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin. If you’re wondering what is the different between atopic dermatitis and eczema, atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. There are other types of eczema such as contact dermatitis, nummular eczema, and dyshidrotic eczema.

Atopic dermatitis is a long lasting condition or chronic in medical term and tends to flare sometimes. You cannot cure dermatitis atopic but you can manage it and avoid its tendency to flare by knowing the trigger.

Dermatitis atopic can also be genetic. My Mom has it and now so does my daughter. It’s common in young children but it can occur at any age. It only occurred to me when I was in university, but for my daughter she has it since she was a baby. I spotted it right away because I have one.

If you have atopic dermatitis or if your doctor already confirm your children have it, here’s some tips from me who have lived with this for 25+ years (don’t start counting how old I am 😆) – You need to keep your skin moist at all times that means discipline with skin care habits and you start with these five things:

1. First is YOUR SOAP. Read the ingredients and see it has SLS in it. If it does, throw them away!

SLS/Sodium laureth sulfate or SLES/sodium lauryl ether sulfate, also called sodium alkylethersulfate, is an anionic detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products and for industrial uses. SLS/SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent. Your soap, shampoo, hand wash, dish wash soap and anything that clean with water will most likely be loaded with SLS. Replace them with products that clean without SLS/SLES. One distinguish feature of body wash or shampoo without SLS is they’re not foamy and it is hard to get used to because you won’t feel squeaky clean after your rinse them with water. However, Trust me! They do clean your skin without drying them out.

My favourite local products for bath are: Hydrating body wash Sensatia, Utama Spice castile soap lavender, The bathbox Goats don’t lie geranium, The soap company and soap bar from seven cactus.

However if my ezcema already flared up or when I go abroad for autumn/winter I will use Skindewi Avocado Shower Balm. The only reason I am not using it on daily basis is the price point. It is too expensive for me to be used on daily basis.

There are other non-local brand which I like as well like Laroche-Posay Lipikar Body Cleansing Oil.

2. You may not be able to replace your dish washer liquid but what you can do is buy the dish washing gloves and wear them when you wash the dishes. Do you notice in Kdrama everyone is wearing gloves when washing the dishes?

But if you want to have a completely sls free laundry soap/dish soap you can buy Utama Spice 3 in 1 house soap or Pureco liquid dish soap. I always have 1 bottle stocked in my bathroom.

3. After shower while your skin is still damp, moisturize your skin. Use body oil/cream/body lotion according to the weather. I go for body lotion or oil when I am in Jakarta. But when I travel abroad in any season other than summer, I put on the heaviest cream on my body.

I always use the same set for body wash and lotion for aroma consistency. My regular moisturizer when I have no problem is Sensatia hydrating body lotion. But for more heavy duty use I stick to Laroche-posay lipikar baume or cicaplast baume which is specifically formulated for dry skin with eczema tendency.

And if my skin already itches I use the big gun: Laroche-posay lipikar eczema. Don’t scratch your itch and instead apply a thick layer of the cream. I discovered that laroche-posay lipikar eczema cream is as effective as my prescribed steroid cream to calm the already irritated skin.

My saviour trio

4. Identify what trigger your eczema! The triggers for eczema vary widely from person to person. Here’s common triggers for atopic dermatitis:

– Rough wool fabric
– Dry skin
– Skin infection
– Heat and sweat
– Stress
– Cleaning products
– Smoke from tobacco
– Cold and dry air
– Fragrances
– Other irritating chemicals
– Infants and children may have flares triggered by eating certain foods, such as eggs and cow’s milk.

For me, my trigger is dry and cold weather which will result to my skin getting drier. And when it is already dry, wearing wool or other rough fabric will irritate the skin more. Other trigger is stress. I know I am under stress when my arms start to itch.

5. Don’t forget your hand! We tend to always wash our hands frequently and use hand sanitizer since the pandemic and if we’re not careful with the product we use (especially hand soap and hand sanitizer), our hands will suffer first. I even go as far as using my own soap-free hand wash in my office and always use my own hand sanitizer.

My favourite hand soap: Sensatia Violet & Geranium handwash and Pureco Vanilla handwash

My favourite hand sanitizer: Utama Spice hand sanitizer, Pureco hand & surface sanitizer

Lastly, special mention for young children especially babies, if you want local products, Sensatia has released their baby’s collection. In the past I bought Gaia baby collection and Baby Buds Organic.

I’m biased here with my love for Sensatia product. I feel like transported to Bali whenever I smell their bath product.

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