There are many tools for treating atopic dermatitis, whether over-the-counter or with a prescription. You can try ointments and creams, or your doctor may suggest light therapy, or medications that you take by mouth or take as an injection.
“New treatments are constantly emerging for atopic dermatitis that help ease the burden and make treatment more effective,” says Geeta Patel, M.D., founder of River Oaks Dermatology in Houston.
“Topical steroids are currently the mainstay of treatment, but they are not always the most effective,” she says. What works for one person does not always work for another. It may take time to find the right treatment.
Your doctor will make recommendations based on how severe your Alzheimer’s is and what areas of your body it affects.
Best treatments for mild illness
“Mild atopic dermatitis usually involves a topical treatment,” Patel says. If you have mild Alzheimer’s disease, your doctor may recommend one of these topical treatments:
Topical steroids. These creams or ointments relieve itching and reduce inflammation. You put them on red or inflamed skin.
Topical steroids have different strengths. Prescription steroids are usually more effective than over-the-counter products. The stronger it is, the more effective it is in controlling inflamed skin. But it may have more side effects, such as thinning your skin. Do not use high-strength steroids on your face, armpits, or groin. For long-term use, get the lowest possible strength.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors. These creams and ointments contain medications that target your immune system to suppress inflammation and relieve itching symptoms in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It is safe for long term use. You can wear them after you moisturize your skin, but some have rules about how quickly you can use them afterward, so check the prescribing information. Examples include pimecrolimus (Elidel) and tacrolimus (Protopic).
Topical PDE4 inhibitors. These topical medications suppress inflammation by blocking PDE4, an enzyme that stimulates it. It reduces itching, redness, thickened skin, and oozing in light to medium light. Currently, there is only one PDE4 inhibitor approved by the FDA. It’s called chrysaporol (Eucryssa). It’s approved for people 3 months of age and older, and you can use it long-term on all parts of the body.
If you have mild Alzheimer’s disease, your doctor may also tell you to:
- Avoid stimuli
- wet after shower
- Eat well
- stress control
- Sleep well
The best treatments for moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease
If you have moderate or severe Alzheimer’s disease, your doctor may recommend:
Wet wrap therapy. With this treatment, you wrap the affected skin with wet bandages after applying moisturizers or topical corticosteroids. “Wet pads help relieve itching, heal your skin, and help creams or ointments be more effective,” says Patel.
Your doctor will tell you how to do this and how often.
Oral medications. If creams do not work, your doctor may recommend oral medications. “These medications work by slowing down your immune system’s response, which may help reduce the severity of symptoms,” Patel says.
Ultraviolet rays or light therapy. “Light therapy is often used to treat severe eczema that does not respond to creams,” Patel says. The treatment exposes your skin to a controlled amount of natural sunlight or UVA or UVB rays to help treat symptoms.
It usually involves going to your dermatologist’s office 2-3 times a week. Try to be patient. “It can sometimes take one to two months to take effect,” Patel says.
dupilumab (Dupixent). This new, laboratory-made drug can reduce inflammation, itching, how severe the disease is and how far it has spread. You get it as a picture. Your doctor may recommend this if other treatments haven’t worked or if you can’t use products that you rub on your skin.
“Experiments have shown that most people have clearer skin and reduced itch after about 16 weeks,” says Patel.
Complementary therapies for Alzheimer’s disease
These treatments may help relieve symptoms:
Mind and body practices. “Stress can exacerbate atopic dermatitis,” Patel says. Its administration can help reduce flare-ups. Try mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, acupressure, hypnosis, or biofeedback, where you learn to control the things your body does, such as your heart rate, to help you relax. These practices may also help if you scratch a lot.
Massage therapy. Massage is known to relieve stress, so it may reduce flare-ups. Choose a therapist who is certified and has experience working with people with similar skin conditions. Make sure they don’t use oils or lotions that may trigger Alzheimer’s disease or make it worse.
Coconut Oil. Studies show that using coconut oil on your skin may reduce staph bacteria and help prevent infection. “Apply once or twice daily to damp skin,” says Patel. Choose virgin or cold-pressed oils, which do not contain chemicals.
Sun flower oil. “Sunflower oil enhances the skin’s protective barrier function, helping it retain moisture. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, says Patel. Apply twice a day, once after showering until your skin is hydrated.”
You may have heard that vitamins, supplements, and probiotics help with Alzheimer’s disease. But there isn’t enough research to support taking them, and they may be harmful if you take certain medications.
Lifestyle Tips for Advertising
Take these steps to help your treatments work better and relieve symptoms:
Take a lukewarm bath. Keep it for 10-15 minutes. Then pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer while it’s still damp.
Moisturise twice a day. Apply a moisturizing cream at least twice a day to strengthen your skin barrier.
Prevent scratching. If your skin feels itchy, try applying pressure to it rather than rubbing it. “Covering the itchy area also helps prevent you from itching,” says Patel.
Use a moisturizer. “Hot, dry indoor air can dry out sensitive skin and increase itching and flaking. A portable home humidifier or other humidifier attached to your oven adds moisture to the air inside your home,” says Patel.
Avoid irritants. Choose mild soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes. Avoid perfumes and cosmetics that contain chemicals, wool, synthetic clothing, and smoke. Keep your home free of dust mites. Avoid foods that may cause flare-ups.
Take allergy medications. Over-the-counter antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and fexofenadine (Allegra) may help with itching. If the itching is severe, you can try diphenhydramine (Benadryl). It may make you sleepy, so take it at bedtime.