People with neurodermatitis usually have very dry and sensitive skin. Even in phases without eczema, it needs a lot of attention and the right care – to prevent a new flare-up.
The most important function of the skin is protection. It envelops the sensitive interior of the body, absorbs shocks and prevents, for example, pathogens or other substances from penetrating the organism. But she can only do all of this if she is healthy. This is precisely not the case with people with eczema . Your skin is usually very dry, which means that the barrier function is disturbed: the skin can, to put it simply, can no longer fight off irritating substances, it then becomes inflamed and itches.
The most effective therapy is first of all to avoid the trigger, if known, and to be careful not to unnecessarily stress the skin. This includes, for example, that those affected take care not to sweat too much and to wear loose-fitting, breathable fabrics such as cotton or silk on the skin, because sweat and tight clothing irritate the skin. Wool is not suitable. For the same reason, you should avoid using products that contain preservatives, colors and fragrances if possible.
Fat and moisture in the right proportion
Skin care products are differentiated according to whether they contain more water or more fat. The water-rich products include creams, lotions and so-called hydrogels. Ointments and oil baths, on the other hand, contain more fat than water. Important to know: The health insurance companies do not cover the costs for such care products because they are not classified as medication.
There is a rule of thumb to choose the right preparation: moist on moist, fatty on dry. During an acute attack, when the skin is open and wet, it therefore needs water-based care. Water has a cooling, drying effect and relieves itching. These oil-in-water emulsions (little oil in a lot of water) are also preferred in summer. As soon as the protective barrier is intact again, a high-fat water-in-oil emulsion (little water in a lot of oil) ensures that it becomes soft and supple again. The oils form a film on the skin so that the moisture does not evaporate. Such ointments are also helpful in the cold in winter.
Ointments with urea, a urea, have also proven effective in treating neurodermatitis. Urea helps the skin retain moisture and soothes itching. However, it should not be applied to inflamed areas as they can leave the skin feeling burning. The attending physician determines how high the concentration should be. In any case, he should coordinate the care of the skin, including cleaning, with you individually and advise you well on the selection of products.
Bathe little, drink a lot
Oil-replenishing baths are also recommended, especially for large-area treatment of dry skin – if they are done no more than once or twice a week. Basically, people with sensitive and dry skin should not bathe too often, and certainly not too hot and too long. This also dries out the skin. Showering is the better alternative. Also, avoid too frequent hand washing and skin disinfectants.
A bath in cool, salty sea water, on the other hand, is beneficial, provided the skin surface is intact. You should then take a good shower and apply lotion. Visits to the swimming pool are less recommended for people with neurodermatitis – on the one hand, because water with the addition of chlorine dries out the skin severely, and on the other hand, because in swimming pools you can easily become infected with certain viruses, such as human papilloma viruses, which lead to skin changes.
Otherwise, one of the general recommendations is to provide the body with sufficient fluid from within. Adults should drink around 1.5 liters of drinks per day, preferably water, advises the German Nutrition Society. It is correspondingly less for children.