Question and answer
The following tips may help prevent bouts of dermatitis (flares) and minimize the drying effects of bathing:
- Try to identify and avoid triggers that worsen the inflammation. Reduce your exposure to your unique triggers.
- Take shorter baths or showers. Limit your baths and showers to 10 to 15 minutes. And use warm, rather than hot, water. Bath oil also may be helpful.
- Use only gentle soaps. Choose mild soaps that clean without removing too many natural oils. Deodorant and antibacterial soaps may be more drying to your skin. Use soap only on your face, underarms, genital areas, hands and feet. Use clear water elsewhere.
- Dry yourself carefully. After bathing, brush your skin rapidly with the palms of your hands, or gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and apply moisturizer.
- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. Creams or lotions seal in moisture. Thicker moisturizers work best — such as Cetaphil, Nutraderm and Eucerin. You may also want to use cosmetics that contain moisturizers. If your skin is extremely dry, try applying baby oil or a similar product while your skin is still moist. Oil has more staying power than moisturizers do.