Q. I'm 52, and since I was a teenager I've had dry skin, or as my dermatologist puts it, “atopic dermatitis.” He tells me it is stress-related and genetic.
Every three months I can get a steroid shot, but it only clears the problem up for a month at most. Then the skin on my hands dries out, peels off, and splits and cracks.
I've tried an assortment of hand creams and ointments, including prescribed creams like Dovonex or steroids. At times I even sleep with greased-up hands in white cotton gloves. Nothing really seems to do the trick. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is often a chronic problem, but here are some approaches that may help. Probiotics, or good bacteria, have shown benefit in some studies. Hemp seed oil, Pycnogenol (maritime pine bark extract) or oolong tea may be helpful. A low-glycemic index diet (no sugar, bread or pasta) eases symptoms for some people.
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