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Atopic Dermatitis – What It Is and Treatment Options

News

14.06.2022

As one of the most common skin diseases, atopic dermatitis is more common in children but it also affects about 2 – 10% of adults, regardless of gender. The trend is for it to become more widespread worldwide. 10% of infants and young children show symptoms of atopic dermatitis and nearly 60% of them retain one or more symptoms in adulthood.

Of the affected patients, 65% develop symptoms of the disease in their first year, and 90% – before the age of 5. The disease is more uncommon in people over the age of 30 and usually occurs after skin exposure under extreme conditions.

What are the symptoms of atopic dermatitis?

Symptoms vary from person to person but usually the most common are dry, itchy, and reddened skin. Itching is experienced by more than 85% of sufferers every day, and skin soreness and sleep disturbances are also common. The folds of the arms, behind the knees, as well as the wrists, neck and face are mainly affected.

People with this type of eczema sometimes scratch the rash, which can lead to bleeding and make the skin more vulnerable to infections. It can change color, become dry and thickened.

In some cases, the skin around the eyes can also be affected and due to scratching of the eye area, some people develop an atopic fold under the eyes. In others, the eyelids may be hyperpigmented and the eyebrows and eyelashes – uneven.

What are the causes of atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is considered to be a complex disease. The reason for its occurrence is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Studies show that the causes of atopic dermatitis may include:

  • family history;
  • other atopic disorders – asthma, seasonal and food allergies;
  • weak immune system;
  • extreme weather conditions.

Irritants that in high concentrations can cause skin inflammation are those from the environment and used in everyday life:

  • cold and dry weather;
  • physical irritants such as dirt, smoke or sand;
  • various allergens;
  • beauty products and detergents;
  • hot showers or long baths;
  • woolen and synthetic fabrics;
  • solvents, mineral oil, etc.

Atopic dermatitis is not a contagious disease, but if a patient with atopic dermatitis develops secondary infections, then they may be contagious through skin contact.

What therapy is used for atopic dermatitis?

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is usually made clinically by physical examination without special tests. Treatment for the disease is not known, but proper therapy can reduce itching and discomfort, as well as the frequency and severity of the flare-ups.

Maintaining healthy skin is paramount to preventing further damage.

Among the therapeutic agents that can be used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis are:

  • topical steroids;
  • various moisturizers;
  • immunostimulants;
  • Janus kinase inhibitors;
  • phototherapy;
  • targeted biological therapy;
  • probiotics;
  • topical inhibitors;
  • antibiotics for secondary infection, etc.

Moisturizing the skin is considered the best preventive measure as it creates a barrier against allergens and irritants, stopping frequent inflammation. Although the disease can have severe symptoms, people with atopic dermatitis can lead a normal life with proper control.

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