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Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema, is a skin disorder that causes drying, itching, and cracking. There are several types of eczema, but the most common is atopic dermatitis.

Flare-ups can persist throughout adulthood, but they typically start in childhood. Atopic dermatitis cannot be cured, however, it can be controlled with the right treatment.

Atopic dermatitis can affect the entire body. However, it is most common in the following areas:

·      hands in adults

·      the insides of the elbows

·      backs of the knees

·      the face and scalp in children

·      the outside of elbows and the front of knees in children

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis isn’t fully understood but is likely to be caused by several factors.

People with atopic eczema frequently have extremely dry skin because it is unable to retain moisture. This dryness may increase the skin’s sensitivity to particular triggers, producing itching and soreness.

If your family has a history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever, you’re more likely to get it. 

Atopic Dermatitis Triggers

Atopic dermatitis occurs when your skin’s protective barrier is compromised. This makes it more sensitive to the following:

·      irritants like soap or fabric

·       environmental allergens like dust mites and pollen

·      Changes in weather or humidity levels

·      Stress

·      Certain foods like nuts or dairy

Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups in individuals with atopic dermatitis.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary, but they often include:

·      dry, itchy, and cracked skin

·      redness, and inflammation

·      Small fluid-filled bumps or crusting

The itch can range from mild to severe, and scratching can lead to further irritation and infection. 

What’s the difference between atopic dermatitis and eczema?

The terms “atopic dermatitis” and “eczema” are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. Eczema is a general term for a rash-like skin disorder that causes inflammation and irritation. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. 

There are several other types, including:

·      contact dermatitis

·      dyshidrotic eczema

·      nummular eczema

·      seborrheic dermatitis

·      stasis dermatitis

Does atopic dermatitis go away?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition, which means that it can come and go over time. While some people may experience periods of remission, others may have symptoms that persist throughout their lives. However, with proper treatment and management, it is possible to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

Is atopic dermatitis an allergy?

Atopic dermatitis is not an allergy, but it is often associated with allergies. People with atopic dermatitis are more likely to have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. They may be more sensitive to allergens or irritants.

Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

Treatment for atopic dermatitis includes:

·      Moisturizer to keep the skin from becoming dry.

·      Topical corticosteroids or oral steroids to ease swelling and redness during flare-ups.

·      Antibiotics if eczema becomes infected.

Additional treatments include:

·      Antihistamines to relieve extreme itching.

·      Tacrolimus or topical pimecrolimus or for eczema in sensitive areas that do not respond to milder treatment.

·      Bandages allow the body to heal beneath.

Atopic dermatitis will not disappear completely. However, after you learn how to manage your symptoms effectively, your flare-ups will likely be less severe. With proper treatment and management, it is possible to reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups and improve quality of life.