Practical Management Tips for Coping with Atopic Eczema

This video has been designed to provide some practical management tips for coping with atopic eczema.

Eczema is often seen as ‘just a dry skin condition’. But when you live with eczema, it can have an impact on all aspects of your daily life. However, with a good skin care routine, avoidance of trigger irritants and allergens and focusing on your general wellbeing, you can gain control of your eczema symptoms.

Maintaining a Good Skin Care Routine

A good skin care routine should include your regular emollient therapy, topical treatments and any other medication required to help manage your eczema.


Itch is one of the most debilitating symptoms associated with eczema. Itch can affect sleep, concentration, mood and affect personal relationships. However, there are some practical tips to help reduce that itch;

  • Try gently nipping or pinching the skin rather than scratching.
  • Avoid becoming too hot or too cold as this can trigger itch.
  • Apply your emollient regularly to prevent the skin becoming dry.
  • Try applying an ice pack or cold compress to the itchy area to help soothe the skin or try putting your emollient in the fridge to cool before applying, you will find creams or lotions work best.
  • For washing and bathing use a non-perfumed soap substitute.
  • Keeping your nails short and wearing loose clothing and cotton gloves can help prevent you from scratching, especially at night.

Triggers Allergens and Irritants

Individual trigger factors vary from person to person. You will often find you have more than one trigger factor that can cause a ‘flare’ of your eczema. While some trigger factors may be easy to identify, you may find others are not so easy to work out. If you suspect something in your environment may be a trigger factor, keeping a symptom diary can be helpful.

It is a good idea to note.

  • What symptoms you have
  • When and where your symptoms started
  • How long your symptoms last.

Common Allergens That Can Trigger Eczema

House Dust Mites

The house dust mite thrives in warm damp places such as your bed and soft furnishings. Unfortunately, we cannot remove the house dust mite, but some simple measures such as vacuuming regularly, washing bedding at a high temperature, and limiting soft furnishings can help reduce the impact on our skin.


The saliva and fur of animals can irritate or worsen eczema. If a pet is a trigger for your eczema, it may be a good idea to prevent the pet having access to certain living areas such as the bedroom.


Plant pollens, including tree, grass and weed pollen can irritate the skin. Try applying your emollient as a barrier to the skin before going outside, especially to the face and hands and avoid drying bedding and clothing outside on days when pollen counts are high.


Warm, damp environments encourage mould growth both indoors and outside. It is a good idea to ventilate wet rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen daily and put food waste out regularly, as well as wearing gloves when gardening and keeping compost heaps covered.

Managing Eczema in The Home

There are a lot of potential triggers and allergens in the home. Everyday activities such as cleaning, doing the laundry and prepping food for meals can sometimes cause irritation to the skin.


Dust and detergents including washing up liquid are very irritating to the skin. It is advisable to wear waterproof gloves when carrying out any cleaning or messy activities around the home or garden to help protect the skin.


Washing powders and fabric conditioners can also be irritating to the skin, try to avoid perfumed or scented products. To help prevent the detergent staying on your clothes, put on an extra rinse cycle and use the smallest amount of washing powder to clean your clothes.

Bedding and Clothing

Fabrics such as wool, polyester and nylon can sometimes irritate sensitive skin and cause itch. Choosing breathable easy care fabrics such as cotton and bamboo are less likely to cause irritation.

Food Preparation

Sometimes you may find handling food can irritate the skin. Wearing waterproof gloves when prepping or chopping food, such as peeling vegetables or handling citrus fruit can help.

Managing Eczema Outside

Sunny Days

It is important to protect the skin from sun damage, and sunscreen should be applied liberally all over to prevent sun damage. Sunscreen can be applied over your emollient, but remember to leave about 30min after applying your emollient, before going out in the sun, to prevent your skin burning.

Cold Weather

In the cold winter months, you may find your skin is dryer and more prone to flaring, sometimes applying a greasier emollient to help manage the dryness can help.

Relationships and Eczema

Eczema can have a huge impact on family dynamics and personal relationships, and this can lead to you feeling very alone and isolated. It is important to try to carry on with your normal everyday activities as much as possible even when your skin is bad and your mood might be low.

During busy and stressful times, it may seem difficult to maintain any routine, but keeping up a good skin care routine, can help prevent any further worsening of your eczema. In addition, relaxation methods such as mindfulness, meditation or deep breathing exercise can help to boost the mood, reduce stress and improve your eczema control.

If you feel your eczema is affecting your emotional wellbeing, or you have concerns about your mood or general wellbeing, please speak to your GP or health care professional who will be able to offer support and advice.

For further support and advice please visit the Allergy UK website, or call our Helpline on 01322 619898

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The production of this video has been made possible by Eli Lilly.