What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin. It’s common in young children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare sometimes. It can be irritating but it’s not contagious.
Why do adults get it?
Common causes include include: irritants – such as soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath. environmental factors or allergens – such as cold and dry weather, dampness, and more specific things such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and moulds.
Once treated, it can take several weeks for rashes to clear up. Since these rashes develop from negative immune reactions, there’s also a risk that more flare-ups will occur unless you reduce your exposure to triggers.
Subtle signs of a predisposition to atopic dermatitis:
- small rough bumps on the backs of the arms and on the thighs.
- dark circles under the eyes (Dennie-Morgan folds), and/or
- extra lines on the palms (hyperlinear palms).
Atopic Dermatitis Statistics:
- In the U.S., a little over 7% of adults have atopic dermatitis.
- It is the most common skin disease in children, affecting approximately 15% to 20% of children.
- Only 16.8% of adults with AD experience onset after adolescence.
Home Care Treatments for Atopic Eczema (Dermatitis)
- Avoid scratching the rash or skin.
- Relieve the itch by using a moisturizer or topical steroids. Take antihistamines to reduce severe itching.
- Keep your fingernails cut short. Consider light gloves if nighttime scratching is a problem.
- Lubricate or moisturize the skin two to three times a day using ointments such as petroleum jelly. Moisturizers should be free of alcohol, scents, dyes, fragrances, and other skin-irritating chemicals. A humidifier in the home also can help.
- Avoid anything that worsens symptoms, including
- Irritants such as wool and lanolin (an oily substance derived from sheep wool used in some moisturizers and cosmetics)
- Strong soaps or detergents
- Sudden changes in body temperature and stress, which may cause sweating
- When washing or bathing
- Keep water contact as brief as possible and use gentle body washes and cleansers instead of regular soaps. Lukewarm baths are better than long, hot baths.
- Do not scrub or dry the skin too hard or for too long.
- After bathing, apply lubricating ointments to damp skin. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
Treatments with Medications:
Medicated products applied to the skin. Many options are available to help control itching and repair the skin. Products are available in various strengths and as creams, gels and ointments. Talk with your dermatologist about the options and your preferences.
- Drugs to fight infection. Your Orlando Dermtatologist may prescribe antibiotic pills to treat an infection.
- Pills that control inflammation. For more-severe eczema, your health care provider may prescribe pills to help control your symptoms. Options might include cyclosporine, methotrexate, prednisone, mycophenolate and azathioprine. These pills are effective but can’t be used long term because of potential serious side effects.
Schedule An Appointment with Orlando Dermatology Center’s Dr. Vitaly Blatnoy:
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