Fast Five Quiz: Atopic Dermatitis

Richard P. Vinson, MD; William James, MD


February 09, 2023

Patients with AD should be advised to wear comfortable, soft, layered cotton clothing and to avoid contact with irritating fibers, such as wool products.

The use of ion-exchange water softeners for bathing and laundry is not a recommended environmental modification for patients with AD owing to lack of data demonstrating their effectiveness in reducing skin irritation. Rather, one large randomized controlled showed no benefit to the use of softeners in patients with AD.

There are inadequate data suggesting an optimal bathing frequency and temperature for AD. However, daily short lukewarm baths or showers are recommended. Furthermore, tepid 5-minute baths, followed by application of an emollient to wet skin, can improve hydration.

Patients with AD should expose affected areas of skin to cool, moist air, not dry ambient air, to optimize moisturization. Dry air has been shown to worsen symptoms and trigger flares.

Learn more about nonmedical supportive care for AD.


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