Best Self-Care Ideas for Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Self-care is defined as ways people can prevent disease and manage health conditions without the support of a healthcare provider. Self-care is usually complementary to standard medical care.

In some milder health issues, self-care strategies may be the sole strategy to manage the condition. There are many evidence-based self-care practices for treating atopic dermatitis (eczema).

This article explains how to practice self-care with eczema and provides tips on finding a good skincare routine.

A woman checking the water temperature in a bath

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Different Ways to Practice Self-Care With Eczema

Self-care for eczema involves more than treating your skin—it's also about identifying triggers to prevent flare-ups. Additionally, since eczema can sometimes impact how you feel about yourself, mental and emotional self-care practices are important, too.

Self-Care for Babies and Children

If your baby has eczema, you may need to incorporate self-care into their routine. Self-care may involve bathing and moisturizing rituals, soothing music, and affirmations to boost your child's self-esteem. As your child grows, teach them the importance of self-care.

Physical Health

Most eczema improves with a good skin care routine. One of the keys to eczema self-care is an established skincare routine, which typically involves ensuring skin retains sufficient moisture.

In addition, self-care for physical health includes:

  • Exercise
  • Eating nutritious foods
  • Staying hydrated
  • Sufficient sleep and good sleep hygiene

These strategies can help you feel your best and may also work to reduce stress, a common eczema trigger.

Mental Health

Since eczema symptoms are chronic and can result in pain and itching that can disrupt your life, some people experience depression symptoms. One study found an association between eczema and depression and anxiety.

Self-care for mental health includes:

Mental health self-care has the dual ability to improve eczema and depression symptoms.

Emotional Health

Some people experience self-consciousness and trouble with self-esteem because eczema can present in prominent places, like on the face. It can interfere with what clothes or cosmetics you can wear or use, which can cause some people to feel limited in expressing themselves. This, in turn, impacts their emotional health.

The same strategies used for mental health can also support emotional health. The following self-care strategies are good for emotional well-being:

  • Setting goals and priorities
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Practicing positivity
  • Finding support from family and friends

Stress directly impacts eczema by triggering stress hormones, creating an inflammatory response that can trigger skin reactions. Self-care practices that support emotional health may help your eczema and emotional state.

Your Environment

Eczema may be triggered by things you are exposed to, including:

Sometimes it can take time to identify which things trigger your eczema flare-ups. Here are some tips for identifying triggers:

  • Protect skin from cold, dry air.
  • Stay up to date on your vaccines, including flu and COVID-19.
  • Stick to fragrance- and dye-free detergents.
  • Double-rinse your laundry to remove residue.

Finding Your Eczema Skincare Routine

A proper eczema skincare routine is one of the fundamental ways of managing your condition. Finding a routine that works for you is critical to eczema self-care.


When you have eczema, avoiding hot water and limiting your time in the tub or shower is important. Hot water and too much time immersed in water can dry out your skin, a risk factor for eczema flare-ups.

Limit your time in the water and keep it lukewarm or cool. Use mild, fragrance-free soap and cleansers. When you get out, avoid vigorously scrubbing your body with a towel and gently patting your skin dry. Then, apply a moisturizer to your skin.


Daily moisturizing is a way to treat and prevent eczema flare-ups. Look for moisturizers that are made for people with eczema—these are typically thicker than an average lotion. Be sure to choose a product that is free of dyes and perfumes. Alternatively, some people like petroleum jelly. Build moisturizing into your routine at least twice a day.


Eczema self-care includes at-home management techniques for treating eczema and those that support physical, mental, and emotional health. Self-care techniques that prevent and treat eczema and help the body holistically include exercise, eating nutritious foods (and avoiding those that trigger flare-ups), meditation, yoga, journaling, getting enough sleep, and enlisting support.

A Word From Verywell

If you have eczema, your skin as well as your sense of well-being may be affected. Many people with eczema lack sufficient sleep, must manage infections caused by eczema, or experience embarrassment or depression. If you notice that eczema is interfering with your life in these ways, self-care practices may help. Talk to a healthcare provider if you notice symptoms of depression so that you can receive adequate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you treat atopic dermatitis yourself without a healthcare provider?

    If you have eczema, it's essential to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan from a healthcare provider. People can manage eczema independently, but you may require a prescription for flare-ups. A healthcare provider can help you develop an at-home eczema self-care plan.

  • What’s the worst thing for inflamed eczema?

    There are numerous things you should avoid placing on inflamed eczema. These include anything with fragrances, essential oils, urea, lanolin, retinoids, Cocamidopropyl betaine (a foaming agent), propylene glycol (an emulsifier), and ethanol.

  • What stops eczema from spreading?

    Eczema is not contagious and does not spread from person to person. However, it can become more prominent or develop on more than one part of the body. The best way to keep eczema contained and flare-ups reduce is to follow your treatment plan to prevent and manage your eczema, including self-care, a good skin care routine, and avoiding triggers.

  • What’s better, covering or letting eczema breathe?

    Keeping your skin moist is one of the most important things you can do for eczema, so letting eczema dry out is not a good choice. At a minimum, keep eczema covered with a moisturizer, cream, or ointment. Follow your healthcare provider's directions for treatment.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. World Health Organization. Self-care interventions for health.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Atopic dermatitis: Self-care.

  3. National Institute of Mental Health. Caring for your mental health.

  4. Long Q, Jin H, You X, et al. Eczema is a shared risk factor for anxiety and depression: a meta-analysis and systematic reviewPLOS ONE. 2022;17(2):e0263334. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0263334

  5. National Eczema Association. Eczema causes and triggers.

  6. National Eczema Association. How to identify and control eczema triggers without losing your mind.

  7. National Eczema Association. 8 skincare ingredients to avoid if you have eczema according to dermatologists.

By Kathi Valeii
As a freelance writer, Kathi has experience writing both reported features and essays for national publications on the topics of healthcare, advocacy, and education. The bulk of her work centers on parenting, education, health, and social justice.