Topical Tip #2: Soap Substitutes

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author/source: DrB



 SS



Soap and water are unfriendly for atopic skin. Conventional washing removes natural oil from the skin, leaving it relatively porous, or "leaky". The skin can then rapidly dry out, as water is more able to escape out through the surface layers of the skin. Drying of the skin can lead to itchiness.

When this happens the antidote is to put on a moisturiser - the lost oils are then replaced by the emollient, and the skin regains its usual ability to retain water. Any itchiness then fades away, especially if the emollient is applied gently and sparingly.

Prevention is always better than cure however. A moisturiser can be used as a soap substitute. Keep some by each sink so that it is easily available instead of soap.

It is very gently massaged onto the skin before contact with the water, and is then rinsed off, after which the skin is patted dry woth a soft towell.

NB In Atopic Skin Disease - A Manual for Practitioners aqueous cream is recommended as a soap substitute. Because it contains an irritant other moisturisers are now recommended

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Emollients

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Washing with soap and water can lead to skin drying, and itchiness. Emollients will remedy the situation, but using a moisturiser as an soap substitute can prevent the problem in the first place.