What atopic dermatitis is and how to recognise it

Hello and officially welcome to our Atopic Dermatitis blog! As we are just getting started and this may be all new to some of you, how about we start at the beginning?

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) or atopic eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become dry, itchy and inflamed. . It usually starts in childhood and may improve with age, but it can also persist or start in adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is a benign, non-contagious condition.

What are the symptoms?

As mentioned above, atopic dermatitis causes the skin to become dry, itchy and inflamed. However, it also causes a range of other symptoms that vary greatly from person to person.

Here are some of the most common diagnostic signs:

  • Dry skin
  • Cracked or scaly skin
  • Itching
  • Spots on the skin, usually red to grey-brown in colour
  • Oozing and crusting
  • Skin rashes
  • Spots on the face and scalp also seen in babies
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Small bumps that may ooze and crust if scratched
  • Darkening of the skin around the eyes

This condition is common in childhood, usually starting before the age of 5, and can continue into adolescence and adulthood. In some cases, flares occur and then disappear for a period of time.

Which parts of the body are affected?

Atopic dermatitis causes itching and inflammation of the skin and typically affects the inside of the elbows, behind the knees and the face, although it can affect most parts of the body.

Atopic dermatitis diagnosis

Causes and risk factors

Atopic dermatitis is a condition in which family history plays an important role. It is caused by a genetic defect that often runs in families.

Although the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, it is linked to genetic changes and problems in the immune system, as well as a disruption in the skin’s barrier or protective function.

How is it managed?

There is no definitive treatment to cure this disease, but there are different options to help you or your children cope with the annoying outbreaks and alleviate the symptoms.

It is important to remember that not all skin is equally permeable. It is therefore possible that some products may cause more itching or discomfort than expected, but this should not be a cause for concern. As atopic dermatitis leads to increased dryness of the skin, the use of highly occlusive formulas is recommended as they create a lipid layer that reduces transepidermal water loss, thus forming a protective film.

The most commonly used drugs are corticosteroids, antihistamines and immunomodulators. The latter can be used both topically (with creams) for mild and moderate cases and systemically (orally) for more severe cases. When choosing topical products, look for options that are easy to use, have a long lasting effect and are absorbed quickly.

If you have found this brief introduction to eczema useful and interesting, don’t miss out on our future publications! We want to be your source of information and a gateway to help you with any questions you may have about the condition.


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