Keep the skin lubricated or moisturized. Use ointment (such as petroleum jelly), cream, or lotion 2 to 3 times a day. Moisturizers should be free of alcohol, scents, dyes, fragrances, or other chemicals. Having a humidifier in the home may also help.
Moisturizers and emollients work best when they're applied to skin that is wet or damp. After washing or bathing, pat the skin dry and then apply the moisturizer right away.
Different types of emollients or moisturizers may be used at different times of the day. For the most part, you can apply these substances as often as you need to keep your skin soft. Avoid anything that makes your symptoms worse. This may include:
- Foods, such as eggs in a very young child. Always discuss with your doctor first.
- Wool, lanolin, and other scratchy fabrics. Use smooth, textured clothing and bedding, such as cotton.
- Sweating. Be careful not to over dress during warmer weather.
- Strong soaps or detergents, as well as chemicals and solvents.
- Sudden changes in body temperature and stress, which may cause sweating and worsen your condition.
- Triggers that cause allergy symptoms.
When washing or bathing:
- Bathe less often and keep water contact as brief as possible. Short, cooler baths are better than long, hot baths.
- Use gentle skin care cleansers rather than traditional soaps, and only on your face, underarms, genital areas, hands, and feet.
- Do not scrub or dry the skin too hard or for too long.
- After bathing, it is important to apply lubricating cream, lotion, or ointment on the skin while it is damp. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
The rash itself, as well as the scratching, often causes breaks in the skin and may lead to infection. Keep an eye out for redness, warmth, swelling, or other signs of infection.