By Jamie Hickey, as advised to Kara Mayer Robinson

I’ve had atopic dermatitis (AD) so long as I can keep in mind. The primary time a physician gave me a prognosis was once I was 18 years outdated and within the Marines.

Having AD used to have an effect on my temper so much. After I was youthful and extra insecure, I wouldn’t put on brief sleeves if I used to be having a flare-up. I infrequently wore shorts. On the pool, I wouldn’t take my shirt off. I’d even cancel plans with mates.

Now that I’m in my 40s, I’ve gotten previous all that. I care much less about what folks suppose. Now, once I select what to put on, it’s based mostly on how snug it’s. My AD doesn’t actually change my temper until I’m having an episode that I can’t get underneath management and the itching is nonstop.

It’s taken some trial and error, however I’ve gotten higher at managing my each day life with AD.

Every day Rituals

On a typical morning, I get up and take a cool bathe. I keep away from scorching showers as a result of they enhance irritation, which makes my AD worse. Then I moisturize my physique, focusing totally on my legs and arms.

I be sure that to drink a gallon of water day-after-day. I’ve discovered that if I’m dehydrated, I get dry pores and skin, which might make my eczema flare up.

After I go away the home, particularly in the summertime, I’ll take a bottle of lotion, itch cream, hydrocortisone cream, and allergy drugs with me. It’s good to have them available in case I would like them once I’m out.

I discover that my AD will get worse within the spring. Pollen has a very adverse impact on me and my AD, so springtime can typically really feel depressing.

Therapy: Trial and Error

My AD principally reveals up behind my knees and on my arms, particularly my elbows. However up to now few years, it’s began to point out itself in my eyebrows. Warmth, stress, and spring allergy symptoms trigger it to flare greater than different occasions of the yr.


I’ve tried a number of remedies and treatments. I’ve tried medical-grade lotions, oatmeal baths, oral allergy medicine, anti-itch medicine, heat baths, and gentle soaps. I’ve even tried some late-night infomercial treatments, which by no means work.

I discovered that what works finest for me, moreover altering my weight-reduction plan, is hydrocortisone steroid cream. It reduces the irritation, which eases the itching and permits it to heal sooner. I take advantage of the steroid lotions once I get a flare-up, after which I apply it twice a day for a number of days.

After I’m about to get a flare-up, it’ll begin to itch, after which my pores and skin will change into purple and infected. I’ll put the steroid cream on and wait to see how dangerous it will get. If it doesn’t go away after 7 days, I’ll need to see my dermatologist to get a stronger ointment.

I owe so much to adjustments I made to my weight-reduction plan. After I was in my late 20s, a good friend and I made a wager to see who might lose probably the most weight. I began consuming more healthy and stopped ingesting alcohol, and I seen that my flare-ups and on a regular basis rashes decreased. So I made the connection and by no means went again to my outdated habits.

I now not drink alcohol. I don’t eat processed or greasy meals. These adjustments have helped greater than every other therapy has, particularly not ingesting alcohol and consuming a whole-foods weight-reduction plan.

(For those who have been questioning, I did win the wager.)

I’ve additionally stopped utilizing issues that trigger flare-ups, and I’ve discovered a number of tips that make it simpler. I shaved my head years in the past as a result of it stored me cooler, and I found out that sure kinds of shampoo and conditioner would make AD flare up on my eyebrows.

Now that I do know what I’m doing, my flare-ups are much less extreme. I believe figuring out your triggers and avoiding them makes an enormous distinction. For me, it’s warmth, dehydration, greasy or processed meals, alcohol, and spring allergy symptoms.


Getting Over the Hurdles

My greatest hurdle is being disciplined with regards to my weight-reduction plan. If I’ve someday the place I let myself eat greasy or processed meals, it could possibly take me weeks to get my pores and skin again to regular. I’ve change into significantly better at staying on observe as I’ve gotten older.

Stress is one other hurdle. It undoubtedly performs a job in my flare-ups. I’ve needed to learn to handle my stress and anxiousness to maintain it underneath management. My physician prescribed a temper stabilizer to manage my anxiousness issues. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized to at all times do what’s finest for me and my household over the rest, which makes my worries and anxiousness very low.

Day-after-day is completely different, however it’s been a studying expertise. Now I can say I’ve found out the right way to stay nicely with AD.

WebMD Function



Jamie Hickey, Philadelphia.

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