With atopic dermatitis, sometimes it feels like all you can focus on is the itch—that's why it's important to distract yourself. Try focusing on these distraction techniques to keep yourself from scratching.

A Deeper Dive Into Distraction Techniques

The pain and itch of atopic dermatitis can make it hard to focus on anything else. At times, it may be both physically and emotionally painful.

But the more you scratch, the more you will itch, so finding a way to break the cycle can mean healthier skin overall. That's where distraction techniques can prove helpful. Distraction is one way to redirect your attention away from the pain and itch of atopic dermatitis onto something else.

Have you had an opportunity to try out the videos? Did this technique help distract you when you were bothered by pain and itch?

An object lesson.

Distractions can also be used in the moment as a replacement activity to interrupt you when you're scratching.


Identify the temptations. When is it hardest to resist scratching? Maybe it's at night before falling asleep, in the morning, or at social events or even when you just feel anxious. Identify the situation during which scratching is the hardest to resist.

Make a plan. Instead of waiting until you're in the moment, decide in advance what you will do   instead of scratching in one of these hard-to-resist situations. Some people move their hands to a non-itchy, neutral place like their thighs, or make a fist for 30 seconds. Others carry an object with them that they can grasp or rub instead of scratching.

Some examples of items that are easy to carry with you and can be used as a distraction include a stress ball, a worry stone, a pen or other small object with an interesting texture, a piece of fabric, a meditation bracelet, and a coin. Can you think of other distraction objects that might work for you?


Take action. Practice the action you'll use to replace the urge to scratch. It may feel silly, but   you're building muscle memory, which helps you form new, proactive habits to cope with the itch.

Rally the troops. Share your plan with trusted friends or loved ones. They can recognize and encourage you when you successfully resist scratching and gently remind you when you forget.

Distraction Tips for Your Daily Life

Distractions can be a helpful way to redirect your attention away from the pain and discomfort of atopic dermatitis to something more pleasurable.

Have you used the video distractions? They’re available any time you need to get your mind off your discomfort. Were you able to practice using an object to distract you from the itch?

You can also incorporate elements of these techniques into everyday situations in ways that are more discreet and still allow you to focus on the primary task at hand.

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Distraction in action

People with atopic dermatitis have found many different ways to distract themselves from pain and itch when they are in a public setting.

Health information contained herein is provided for general educational purposes only. Your healthcare professional is the single best source of information regarding your health. Please consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your health or treatment.