Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is a skin condition that is identified with irritated and itchy patches on the skin. Although atopic dermatitis tends to develop in childhood, it can continue into adulthood. Additionally, it can also develop at any age. Atopic dermatitis is chronic by nature, marked by periods of flare-ups and remissions. This form of eczema also has a strong link to allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma.
Atopic dermatitis is incurable, but there are self-care strategies and medical therapies that work in easing itching and keeping frequent outbreaks at bay. With regards to self-care strategies, a daily moisturizing regimen, steering clear of using irritating soaps, and using topical medicines go a long way in controlling and preventing symptoms.
How Do You Know Whether You Have Eczema Atopic Dermatitis?
Even though every patient’s atopic dermatitis symptoms differ, the hallmark symptoms of atopic dermatitis are:
- Itchiness that typically worsens at nighttime
- Reddish or darkened patches of skin, usually forming on the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, chest, around the eyes, and in the folds of the knees and elbows
- Tiny, elevated spots that may become pus-filled, ooze, and get crusty if scratched
- Hardened, fissured, flaky patches of skin
- Tender, inflamed skin due to scratching
Why Does Atopic Dermatitis Occur?
Normal skin in good health is capable of keeping moisture and keeping out pathogens, allergens, and irritants. Eczema is associated with a change in a gene that interferes with the skin’s protective function. When the skin is unable to protect itself from environmental triggers, it reacts to contact with certain allergens and irritants.
Are You at Risk of Atopic Dermatitis?
Those with a family history of skin conditions such as eczema, allergic rhinitis, allergies, or asthma run a higher risk of getting atopic dermatitis.
Can You Prevent Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms?
There are some rules individuals with atopic dermatitis can live by to lower the frequency of flare-ups and improve the dryness associated with eczema. These include:
- Having a regular moisturizing regimen to lock in moisture and prevent dryness, especially after showering or bathing
- Pinpointing triggers that exacerbate symptoms such as cleaning products, beauty products, dust, sweat, and pollen
- Limiting your shower or bath time, using only warm water
- Trying bleach baths (discuss whether and how you should take bleach baths with your doctor)
- Staying away from harsh soaps
- Being careful while drying yourself up (avoid towels made of rough material)
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