Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic skin disease that causes certain areas of the skin to become inflamed and itchy.

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Generally, atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic condition that is accompanied by asthma and/or hay fever. This condition can develop anywhere on the skin but is most commonly found on the arms and back of the knees. Eczema has a tendency to flare up repeatedly after subsiding for periods of time.

Atopic Dermatitis Risk Factors

There are numerous factors that increase the likelihood of developing eczema , including:

  • Age – While atopic dermatitis can develop at any age, most cases are noticed during infancy.
  • History of allergies and asthma – Individuals with a history of asthma or hay fever are at an increased risk of developing atopic dermatitis.
  • Certain environmental factors – Skin irritants including wool, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, and chemical solvents increase the risk of atopic dermatitis to individuals with sensitive skin.

For those living with chronic atopic dermatitis, certain factors should be avoided to reduce the severity of flare-ups, including:

  • Long, hot showers or baths
  • Continuous sweating
  • Stress
  • Rapid changes in temperature

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

The most common symptom of eczema is developing patches of dry, itchy skin that can often leak fluid and crust over if scratched. Other symptoms that indicate atopic dermatitis include:

  • Thickened, scaly, or cracked skin
  • Raw skin that has become sensitive due to scratching

Often times, the itching from atopic dermatitis can become so severe that the affected skin becomes inflamed and the skin barrier is broken, leading to Staphylococcus aureus infections that live on the skin.

Atopic Dermatitis Diagnosis and Treatment

While there are certain home remedies to alleviate discomfort from atopic dermatitis, individuals should contact Adena Dermatology if your skin is painful to the touch or has become infected. While tests are generally not conducted to indicate atopic dermatitis, an overview of your medical history as well as an examination of your skin may be performed to identify the cause. Our team may prescribe you topical creams such as corticosteroid to reduce itching and inflammation. In addition, antibiotics, oral antihistamines or medications that strengthen the immune system, called immunomodulators, may be prescribed to reduce swelling and help the skin return to normal. Phototherapy also may be used to expose your skin to controlled amounts of UV rays.

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