Neurodermatitis – how to cope with dry and sensitive skin
You know you shouldn't scratch, but your skin itches so much that you can't help yourself. Many neurodermatitis patients know this feeling all too well. This health tip looks at ways of caring for and repairing damaged skin.
Neurodermatitis is a disorder of the skin barrier, not an allergy. A lack of certain important substances such as proteins or fats, which make up the protective outer layer of the skin, makes the skin barrier more permeable. This results in increased water loss, which in turn makes the skin drier and more vulnerable. As a result, allergens and other environmental substances can penetrate the skin more easily. Taken together, this leads to an increase in inflammatory reactions.
Symptoms of neurodermatitis
The typical feature of neurodermatitis is dry sensitive skin. Other symptoms include redness, itching, weeping or bleeding patches (with or without scabs), scaly skin, and areas without acute symptoms but where the skin becomes leathery. Neurodermatitis tends to manifest itself in different areas of the body depending on age:
- In infancy, it is the face and scalp, upper body, hands and the insides of the legs and/or arms that are usually affected.
- In infants, the skin changes are usually visible at the backs of the knees, the crooks of the elbows and on the face, throat and back of the neck.
- Hand and foot eczema may also be observed in school-age children, adolescents and adults.
In 85% of affected children, symptoms appear in the first five years of life.
Caring for and repairing damaged skin
The most important form of treatment is daily basic skin care, during which the sensitive skin is gently cleansed and its barrier function is enhanced and, where possible, fully restored. This helps to prevent infections and stops irritating or harmful substances from entering the skin. “People have to find out for themselves which skin care products work best for them. This can vary according to the season”, explains Silke Schmitt Oggier, Medical Director of santé24. In winter, when the air is cold and dry, she tends to recommend care products with an oily consistency. In the summertime or in hot and humid climates, however, it is better to use products which contain less oil and instead have a higher moisture content.
People have to find out for themselves which skin care products work best for them. This can vary according to the season.Silke Schmitt Oggier, Medical Director of santé24
Despite good care, affected children and adults suffer from itching. The natural reaction is to scratch. This provides temporary relief, but over time it also changes the appearance of skin. Cool, skin-friendly, breathable textiles and compresses and bandages with black tea, table salt or ointments can help to prevent itching.
Since yesterday morning you have been suffering with skin rashes. You don’t know whether you should go to your family doctor, a pharmacy or even the hospital. The BENECURA app from SWICA provides support when you feel unwell or become ill. SWICA customers can use the SymptomCheck feature of the BENECURA app, which was developed by doctors, to obtain information easily, quickly and reliably and immediately receive a personal recommendation about what to do next.