Atopic Dermatitis

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis (AD)/ eczema) is an inflammatory, chronically relapsing, non-contagious and pruritic skin disease.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with atopic dermatitis react abnormally and easily to irritants, food, and environmental allergens and becomes red, flaky and very itchy. It also becomes vulnerable to surface infections caused by bacteria. The skin on the flexural surfaces of the joints (for example inner sides of elbows and knees) are the most commonly affected regions in people. Atopic dermatitis often occurs together with other atopic diseases like hay fever, asthma and conjunctivitis.

The most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis are:

  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Rashes on the face, inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and feet

What makes atopic dermatitis worse?

Irritants are things that may cause the skin to be red and itchy or to burn. They include:

  • Wool or manmade fibers
  • Soaps and cleaners
  • Some perfumes and makeup
  • Substances such as chlorine, mineral oil, or solvents
  • Dust or sand
  • Cigarette smoke

Allergens are allergy-causing substances from foods, plants, animals, or the air. Common allergens are:

  • Eggs, peanuts, milk, fish, soy products, and wheat
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Dog or cat dander

How Is Atopic Dermatitis Treated?

For children foods may be a trigger for atopic dermatitis. Children may present with worening of their skin condition without any other evidence of food allergy (ex. hives, diarrhea, vomiting). In children with difficult to control atopic dermatitis allergy testing may be helpful in identfying food as a triger for atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is part of a spectrum of allergic disase. It is common for patients to have season allergies or asthma. Aviodiance of potential allergens (particlarly dust mite) has been shown to decrease flares of atopic dermatitis.

Treatment works best when the patient, family members, and doctor work together.

A 5 step treatment plan will be created to help control and prevent symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

  • Avoid Triggers- We will help determine your triggers
  • Aggressive Moisturization
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-infection
  • Anti-itch

You need to carefully follow the treatment plan. Try to notice what is or isn't helpful. Symptoms usually improve with the right skin care and lifestyle changes.

What is the prognosis?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease and although there is no cure, proper diagnosis and treatment is essential for good control. Working with an allergist to help identify triggers, decrease colonization of bacteria on skin (ex. bleach baths), and control inflammation/and pruritus can allow for decrease frequency and severity of symptoms.