Summary of the issue

Atopic eczema

Known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis, this chronic inflammatory skin disease results in dry skin, red inflammatory lesions and sometimes intense itching. It usually appears in early childhood and can last into adulthood. Rest assured, it can be relieved and, above all, flare-ups can be prevented.


What is atopic eczema?

Atopic dermatitis is the result of many factors. But it is above all hereditary: if both parents are affected, a child has 8 out of 10 "chances" of developing eczema. This atopic terrain prevents the skin from properly fulfilling its role as a protective barrier. It is then more permeable to allergens present in the environment, such as pollens or dust mites. 

Faced with these aggressions, but also because of an atmosphere that is too dry, poorly rinsed laundry or an irritating washing liquid, the immune system over-reacts: redness, itching, inflammation and oozing. These are flare-ups of atopic eczema. Outside of these periods, the skin is uncomfortable: it cannot stay moisturised.

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Atopic eczema: adapt your environment

To help your skin or your child's skin play its role as a protective barrier better, you can take action! In your living environment, for example, a poorly ventilated home is home to millions of dust mites that can aggravate atopic dermatitis. So air your home out regularly (early in the morning and late in the evening, to avoid letting in the pollen that is also responsible for allergic rhinitis), avoid rugs and carpets in the bedrooms, vacuum regularly, dust with a damp sponge and wash your sheets every week at at least 55°F. For clothes in direct contact with the skin, forget irritating acrylic and opt for cotton.


“When cleaning, you should remember to wear gloves, as they protect your hands from irritating products”.


How do you relieve atopic eczema?

Atopic eczema can be treated during and between flare-ups.

During the flare-up

During a flare-up of atopic dermatitis, cortisone-based ointments, creams or lotions are applied to reduce inflammation and relieve redness and itching. This is the most common treatment. However, antihistamines may be prescribed to relieve severe itching. Immunomodulators (which 'modulate' the immune system response) are also indicated for moderate to severe forms of eczema. But these drug treatments do not prevent recurrences.

Atopic eczema - Treatments

Between flare-ups

To help the skin restore its barrier function, let’s move on to the basic treatment. This consists of applying an emollient to combat the skin's dryness on a daily basis and to space out flare-ups. Lotion, cream, balm... It’s up to you to choose the texture that suits you or your child best. 

Moisturizing rules - Children


Atopic dermatitis does not only cause physical discomfort. 

Atopic eczema can have repercussions on your psychological health: stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, loss of self-confidence, etc. Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or to a patient association, which can give you valuable advice on how to manage your atopic dermatitis on a daily basis. You are not alone: 17% of Canadians suffer from this.

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Best practices to soothe atopic dermatitis

Outside flare-ups, the ideal thing is to regularly use an emollient cream, just after a shower or bath. Application is often easier on slightly damp skin. Warm up the cream in your hands, dab it over your body and spread it with large, sweeping movements, without rubbing. In this way, the water is maintained in the epidermis and its barrier function is gradually restored. This should be repeated every day, or even several times a day, for supple, silky soft skin.

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Our solutions to relieve atopic eczema.

Eau Thermale Avène products designed to soothe atopic eczema.

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