Debunking Common Myths
Atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema, is a very uncomfortable and common skin condition in young children. While many parents do their best to keep their little ones itch-free, persistent myths about the condition can prevent well-meaning parents from managing their child’s skin effectively. Here, we address 15 common myths that are important to know.
Myth 1. Household oils can help manage atopic dermatitis
FACT: With household oils there is no guarantee of quality. Some vegetable oils can spoil when exposed to air and sunlight. In addition, some oils, such as olive oil, have a high oleic acid content, which disrupts the skin barrier and increases skin water loss. While certain studies show moisturizing baby skin with aceite de manzanilla (oil of chamomile) may help, more research is needed to find out just how useful it is. Other studies show that virgin coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory attributes can help manage atopic dermatitis, but again, further clinical studies are needed.1,2
Myth 2. Detergents and soaps cause atopic dermatitis
FACT: Detergents and soaps can be a causative factor, especially if they damage the developing skin barrier.
Myth 3. Any skincare product with natural ingredients must be good
FACT: Natural ingredients can be good, but being natural is not a guarantee of positive benefits. Skincare products touted as natural often have not been clinically tested or studied, and some of these natural remedies may contain allergens or contaminants such as mercury, lead, and other harmful elements.
Myth 4. Atopic dermatitis and eczema are different names for the same thing
FACT: Eczema refers to a group of skin conditions, and atopic dermatitis is the most common of them all.3 Eczema skin conditions manifests as reddened, itchy, and inflamed skin.
Myth 5. Daily bathing worsens atopic dermatitis
FACT: It is fine to bathe babies every day, provided an appropriate cleanser is used and the skin is protected against dryness. Moisturizing your child right after bathing can seal moisture into the skin. Just make sure the water isn’t too hot—overly hot water can dry the skin.
Myth 6. Swimming worsens atopic dermatitis
FACT: Swimming is fine for children with atopic dermatitis, as long as they have a proper skincare routine that includes appropriate cleansing and moisturizing. Certain guidelines recommend moisturizing skin an hour before swimming and within three minutes of showering after swimming.4
Myth 7. Atopic dermatitis can be cured
FACT: Atopic dermatitis is a chronic and lifelong condition.5 It cannot be cured, but we can manage it with a consistent skincare routine, including appropriate cleansers and moisturizers.
Myth 8. Atopic dermatitis is contagious
FACT: It isn’t contagious and cannot be spread through contact.
Myth 9. Atopic dermatitis is just a skin rash
FACT: Atopic dermatitis is very complex. It is a chronic and inflammatory skin disorder influenced by a child’s genes and environment.6 Even today, atopic dermatitis isn’t fully understood.7
Myth 10. Children can learn to overcome the itchiness
FACT: The itch can be very serious. Children with atopic dermatitis often scratch till their skin bleeds. Instead of trying to distract your child from the itch, focus on establishing a healthy skincare routine that will ease it.
Myth 11. A parent with atopic dermatitis will definitely pass it onto his or her child
FACT: The genetics of atopic dermatitis are still not fully understood. Studies suggest at least a few genes are involved when it comes to developing atopic dermatitis, but just because a parent has the condition doesn’t mean his or her child will, too.8
Myth 12. There are definitive laboratory tests to diagnose atopic dermatitis
FACT: There are no definitive tests for diagnosing atopic dermatitis. It is true that elevated serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels have been found in many people with atopic dermatitis, but it is not always a fail-proof way of checking if a child has atopic dermatitis or not.
Myth 13. Children will grow out of atopic dermatitis
FACT: Atopic dermatitis is a chronic and lifelong condition. A parent whose child has atopic dermatitis must consistently manage the condition with an appropriate skincare routine.
Myth 14. Moisturizers are not required in hot, humid climates
FACT: Frequent bathing and air-conditioning can dry a baby’s skin. Even in warm climates, the right kind of moisturizer (ideally non-greasy and quick-drying) can help protect the developing skin barrier.
Myth 15. Atopic dermatitis will not affect a child’s quality of life
FACT: Atopic dermatitis can make a child feel miserable, itchy, and unwell. A child enduring a flare feels very itchy, keeps scratching, and cannot sleep well at night—this greatly reduces quality of life.9 When a child is going through a flare and the skin is sensitive and swollen, it can be very painful even to take a shower.
FACT: Moisture is always good for skin. Nourish your little one’s skin with AVEENO Baby’s Moisturizing Wash and Soothing Relief Moisture Cream, now at 40% off!