The effects of atopic dermatitis can impact many areas of life. From the unpredictability of flare-ups to disrupted sleep and feelings of self-consciousness, unsurprisingly, people with atopic dermatitis are more likely to struggle with negative emotions than the general population.1,2

Often, atopic dermatitis requires daily attention to keep the itching and rash under control.3 Steroids, lotions and creams can help with managing atopic dermatitis, although it can feel like there is not much you can do to keep a flare-up from happening again. That is why understanding the underlying immunological cause of atopic dermatitis is important to help understand how the skin works.

Atopic dermatitis can be frustrating, embarrassing and make those who live with it every day feel self-conscious about their appearance.1 The impact of atopic dermatitis can go deeper than the skin. Feelings of anxiety are common among people with atopic dermatitis.1

In a UK survey of patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, 80% reported feeling that their skin condition has a direct impact on their mood.2 Many become anxious, especially in public and social settings, feeling that they’re being looked at and judged by others.2

Atopic dermatitis - the hidden burden

Millions of people in the UK live with atopic dermatitis however, how the disease presents varies. Listen below to three individual stories, highlighting the effect atopic dermatitis has on their lives and revealing why there is an importance for wider education on the impact of atopic dermatitis.

Please note, these are individual stories, how atopic dermatitis affects others will vary.

Clothing and Materials

As clothes come into contact with your skin every hour of the day, it is important that the material is kind to your skin. What works for some people won't work for others but check out our guide to different clothing materials and why some may or may not be good for you or your child's AD.

What materials are best for atopic dermatitis?

Like with the sports you play or the make-up you might wear, you may find that some clothing materials work much better for you than others. Trying to identify certain fabrics that don’t irritate your skin may reduce the number of flares you experience4. We have created a brief guide below to give you an introduction to different types of material that could potentially be kind to your skin and therefore, what you may/may not want to wear. Please note, materials that may be good for most could affect you differently so the below should simply be taken as a guide.



A light, breathable material, cotton is a popular material, especially because it is good at absorbing moisture4. Have you tried having a pair of cotton gloves to hand if you’re doing housework? These gloves will protect your hands from irritation from any day-to-day tasks5.


Like cotton, silk is a natural material that creates minimal friction whilst also keeping your body temperature stable. As a result, this will reduce sweating and consequent moisture loss which leads to dry skin4.

Merino Wool:

A particularly good material in the colder winter months, merino wool is different from normal wool as it has very fine fibres that are much smoother. It is soft and will retain heat which will reduce irritation unlike normal wool which is much coarser6.


In most cases, synthetic materials should try and be avoided as chemically produced fibres tend to irritate the skin4. Viscose however may be a slight exception. It is a semi-synthetic material that is made from a combination of natural tree-fibres and chemicals and is a great alternative to silk7.

Knowing what works well for you or your child’s skin may take some experimentation however, the above guide will hopefully act as a good starting point to reduce irritation. After all, if you’re wearing something every day, you want to feel comfortable!

  1. Simpson et al. Patient burden of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (AD): Insights from a phase 2b clinical trial of dupilumab in adults. Am Acad Dermatol, pp. 74(3):491-498, 2016.
  2. Sanofi Data on File. March 2018.
  3. Atopic Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  4. Ricci G et al. ‘Use of Textiles in Atopic Dermatitis’. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2006; 33: 127-143.
  5. National Eczema Association. Protect your Hands at Home. Available at: (Accessed: May 2022).
  6. Fowler JF et al. ‘Effects of Merino Wool on Atopic Dermatitis using Clinical, Quality of Life, and Physiological Outcome Measures’. Dermatitis. 2019; 30(3): 198-20.
  7. MasterClass. Fabric Guide. What is Viscose? Understanding Viscose Fabric and how Viscose is Made. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
Would you like to assess how much control you have had over your AD in the past week?