Protectives are classified as absorbents and barrier creams. Absorbents are typically in the form of a powder and either dissolve or absorb substances. Common absorbents include talc, zinc oxide, and starch. Barrier creams provide a physical block to external irritants.
Antihistamines can have a soothing effect in atopic dermatitis by relieving symptoms of itching and burning. Topical antihistamines are generally avoided because of the risk of allergic contact dermatitis. The most common side effects are sedation and drowsiness.
Keratolytics enhance the shedding of the surface of the skin. These agents are commonly used when thick, dead skin is present. They work by softening the tissue and facilitating the shedding of this skin.
Astringents are local agents that chemically change the surface tension of the skin cells, causing constriction of tissues. Astringents are generally used to clean away dead skin cells and excess oil that clog pores and cause acne flare-ups.
Toners cleanse the skin of impurities and close facial pores, prepping the skin for additional treatments and restoring natural skin pH levels. Toners are typically applied with a cotton pad.
Phototherapy represents a safe treatment option for those who have a more generalized disease that is moderate to severe in nature and can be commonly combined with topical corticosteroid therapy. A downside of this treatment option is that it must be administered in a physician’s office between two to three times per week, which can present a time constraint for many patients.
Cleansers are used to clean the skin surface and remove excess oil, preventing shiny skin and possible acne flare-ups.