Atopic dermatitis

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, pruritic, recurrent and one of the most common skin disease. Luckily, it cannot be spread from person to person.  Sometimes it is also called eczema, but atopic dermatitis is only one of many types of eczema. Statistic shows that 65% of patients develop symptoms in the first year of life, and even 90% develop symptoms before the age of 5.
atopic dermatitis
Although when children with atopic dermatitis grow older, this problem can improve or go away, but the skin may stay dry and easy to irritate.

What causes atopic dermatitis?

The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is still unknown, but it seems that mostly it starts because of heredity (atopic dermatitis occurs in 70% children where both parents have the condition, and in about 30% children where one parent has the condition), enviromental factors (many children with atopic dermatitis are allergic to grass, dust mites and cat dander) or even because of an abnormally weak immune system.  Also many believes that it can cause stress or other emotional disorders, but it is not true, they can only worsen atopic dermatitis, but they don't cause it.

The most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis:

  • Dryness of the skin
  • Itchy, red skin
  • Inflammation of the skin on and around the lips
  • Increased number of skin creases on the palms
  • Eyelids often become darker in color from inflammation or hay fever
  • Small, rough bumps
  • Thick skin resulting from constant scratching and rubbing

atopic dermatitis 1
Possible symptoms of atopic dermatitis are also found who have other types of skin disorders.

Treatment and prevention:

First of all, you need to avoid or minimize contact with known allergens. Once that has been established, other treatments can be used:

  • Avoid dry skin. This is one of the most essential thing in treatment.
  • Bath in warm water and only for 3 or 5 minutes.
  • Avoid bath oils and use a soap regulary only on the groin, feet and underams, because most of soaps wash away all the oils produced by the skin that normally serve to prevent drying.
  • Avoid irritants that cause a rash or make a rash worse.

Other specific treatment depends on the type of rash you have. Although typically, a combination of corticosteroid medicines and moisturizers (complex mixtures of chemical agents specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable) can be used to treat all types of atopic dermatitis.