5 Tips for Adults Coping With a New Atopic Dermatitis Diagnosis


After being diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, you may wonder what’s next for you. “The first thing I tell my adult patients that I diagnose with eczema is not to panic, as we can almost certainly manage it and achieve mostly, if not completely, clear skin,” says Smith.

These five steps can help you move forward, according to Smith and Daveluy.

1. Take Time to Process

“It’s always important to take a little time to process the news and diagnosis,” says Daveluy.

One of the best ways to do this is by arming yourself with knowledge about your diagnosis, which can help ease the emotional impact of it. Daveluy encourages his patients to learn more about their diagnosis through reliable sources like the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Eczema Association (NEA).

2. Make a Plan With Your Doctor

“I give all my patients an eczema action plan,” says Smith. “This is a detailed document that explains what lifestyle tweaks can help heal their eczema.” Some lifestyle changes that can help are:

For some, it might be hard to remember all these changes. That’s why Daveluy recommends a strategy called habit stacking. “For example, you can apply your morning topicals (creams, ointments, medications that go on the skin) right after showering. You won’t forget to shower, so making application of your medications part of that routine will make sure it happens,” he says.

3. Take Medical Treatments if You Need To

For some with milder atopic dermatitis, lifestyle changes are enough to manage symptoms. But if your condition is more severe, your doctor will likely recommend medical treatments for you. Safe and effective prescription treatment options for atopic dermatitis include:

  • Topical steroid and nonsteroid creams
  • Phototherapy (light therapy)
  • Oral immune modulating drugs
  • Injectable biologic drugs

“The newer biologic medications are a game changer for people with severe and refractory [treatment-resistant] eczema,” says Smith.


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