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Atopic dermatitis

atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common form of eczema often seen in young children. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but one can see a strong link with genetic factors, and some environmental involvement.

Atopic dermatitis appear on multiple parts of the body, such as the hands feet or face, moreover it is especially common in infant exposure. The symptoms include dry, scaly and itchy skin, and constant irritation on the affected areas from scratching can lead to scarring of the affected area. Many patients with allergies have eczema, however, allergies is not the cause. Physicians, like podiatrists, prescribe topical steroids to lessen the symptoms.

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

If you have red, scaly patches of skin it may due to eczema, which one may mistake for simply dry skin. This common condition can show up anywhere on the body, causing skin to become dry, thick, and cracked.  You can see atopic dermatitis on any part of the body, further, hands are particularly vulnerable.  Babies with it have crusty spots on the cheeks and chin.  

Children with eczema often outgrow it, alternatively, adults who never had it can get it also.  Doctors don’t know the exact cause.  Experts think that a mix of genetics and environmental factors come into play.   

Environmental factor include exposure to:

  • Wool
  • Perfume
  • Soap 
  • Chlorine and Cleaning Products
  • Makeup
  • Cigarette smoke

You might experience these symptoms:

  • Red and irritated, or swollen skin
  • Oozing or crusty skin
  • Scaly or rough patches (feels like leather)
  • Severe itching

In March of 2017, a new treatment was approved by the FDA to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema that are unable to use or have failed to find relief with topical treatments. Regeneron’s Dupixent (dupilumab) is an injection used clinically on over 2,100 adults, most importantly it was found to significantly reduce or completely clear up the skin after 16 weeks of treatments. To clarify, use it in conjunction or in absence of topical treatments.

Is atopic dermatitis a chronic condition?

Yes, atopic dermatitis is generally considered a chronic condition. It is a long-term skin disorder characterized by inflammation, itching, and the development of red, dry, and flaky skin. While the severity of symptoms can vary, many individuals with atopic dermatitis experience recurrent flare-ups throughout their lives.

Managing atopic dermatitis often involves a combination of skincare practices, lifestyle adjustments, and, in some cases, medical treatments. While there may be periods of remission where symptoms improve, the condition can persist and may require ongoing attention and care to minimize flare-ups and enhance overall skin health.

Can atopic dermatitis be inherited?

Yes, there is a genetic component to atopic dermatitis. Individuals with a family history of atopic conditions, such as eczema, asthma, or hay fever, are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis. The exact mechanisms of inheritance are complex, and multiple genes may contribute to the risk of developing this skin condition.

While genetics play a role, environmental factors also influence the development and exacerbation of atopic dermatitis. Triggers such as allergens, irritants, and certain environmental conditions can contribute to flare-ups.

Can atopic dermatitis be prevented?

While it may not be possible to prevent atopic dermatitis entirely, certain measures can help reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating the condition. Here are some general strategies:

  1. Moisturize: Keep the skin well-hydrated with regular use of fragrance-free moisturizers. This can help maintain the skin barrier and reduce dryness.
  2. Identify and Avoid Triggers: Be aware of potential triggers such as certain fabrics, soaps, detergents, and environmental allergens. Avoiding these triggers may help prevent flare-ups.
  3. Use Mild Soaps: Choose mild, fragrance-free soaps and cleansers to avoid irritating the skin.
  4. Manage Stress: Stress can contribute to atopic dermatitis flare-ups. Employ stress-management techniques such as exercise, meditation, or yoga to help reduce stress levels.

Contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis are forms of eczema.