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15 Mistakes That Make Eczema Worse

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Eczema Mistakes infographic

This information has been reviewed and approved by Elizabeth Gyorkos, PA-C, (April 2024). 

Eczema Mistakes that Increase the Itch

Keep eczema or atopic dermatitis under control with a healthy skin care routine and by avoiding things that trigger eczema symptoms. Avoid these common mistakes that make itching worse.

1. Using lotion

Creams and ointments lock in moisture better than lotion.   

2. Washing with soap

Use a water rinse and a gentle, fragrance-free, dye-free cleanser.   

3. Not bathing or moisturizing  

Take a daily bath. Apply moisturizer and medicine within three minutes of getting out of the water.  

4. Applying moisturizer on top of medication  

Topical medicine only goes on active rash. Moisturizer goes on clear skin areas.

5. Not using enough moisturizer

Apply cream or ointment generously after bathing and hand-washing, and for itching.   

6. Scratching

Instead of directly scratching, sharply pat the itchy area and apply moisturizer.   

7. Scooping moisturizer with your hand

Prevent contaminating the container by using a disposable spoon or pump to get the moisturizer.

8. Not drinking enough water

Skin is 60 percent water. Drink plenty of water every day.

9. Wearing itchy clothing

Keep skin covered with natural fibers, such as cotton.

10. Not wearing gloves in cold weather

Protect hands with silk or cotton liners under your favorite gloves or mittens. 

11. Sleeping under heavy covers

Change heavy covers for lightweight, breathable blankets to prevent sweating and itching.

12. Focusing on scratching

Keep hands busy by playing with a worry stone, stress ball or another item.

13. Rushing your care plan

Follow your doctor’s care plan exactly, and ask for help if you can’t get an eczema flare under control.

14. Not being prepared for the flare

Keep a drawer of soak and seal clothing and other supplies ready for eczema flares.

15. Not talking with school staff

Educate teachers, staff and students about eczema – it’s not contagious. Provide moisturizer for your child to use at school for itching.

More Information on Eczema

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