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An Introductory Guide to Atopic Dermatitis


Dry, inflamed, and itchy skin is a nuisance. While it’s often temporary for many, applying moisturizer can relieve the condition, those with atopic dermatitis are in for it for a lifetime. Wondering what that is? Read on to familiarize yourself with this common skin condition.


What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, a group of inflammatory skin conditions that cause rash-like symptoms and make your skin blotchy, red, dry, irritated, and itchy. It’s also often referred to as dermatitis or (wrongly) eczema.


Atopic dermatitis is a chronic relapsing condition that goes through periods of flares and remissions, like inflammatory bowel diseases. It is most common in children; however, adults can also develop it. Most affected children develop this condition within the initial five years of life. While some outgrow it with age, others carry it into adulthood.


What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?

No exact cause of atopic dermatitis has been found. However, researchers and healthcare professionals believe that genetic and environmental factors play a role in it. Allergic diseases, like asthma and hay fever, are also known to contribute to increasing someone’s propensity to the disease. This means those with a family history of these allergic conditions are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis than others.


The symptoms of atopic dermatitis also depict an overactive immune system, and while it isn’t considered an autoimmune disorder, experts believe that the disease does involve dysfunction of the immune system.


In terms of environmental factors, a wide range of factors can be held responsible. These include chemicals in everyday use products, like shampoos, soaps, dishwashing liquids, detergents, perfume, skincare products, etc. Dust, smoke, pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, certain fabrics, food allergies, and infections may also trigger this severe form of eczema.


What are the Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is often confused with allergic reactions and insect bites. While only a doctor can confirm the diagnosis, it’s characterized by the following symptoms:

● Dry, scaly skin with extremely rough patches

● Red bumps filled with pus and rashes that are likely spread on the back of the neck, upper arms, thighs, knees, elbow creases, and face

● Inflamed skin

● Extreme itchiness

● Increased skin creasing on the palms. Some may also notice it around the eyes.

● Changes in skin color; darkening of the skin around the eyes is quite common.


Contact a Doctor Immediately for a Confirmed Diagnosis

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a doctor at your earliest for a diagnosis. Don’t take your skin rash or irritation lightly. It could be just a regular rash or an allergic reaction to something, but it is best to confirm with a healthcare professional. Eczema is a serious condition and requires proper medical treatment. Otherwise, the symptoms can worsen and cause a lot of pain and discomfort, affecting your quality of life.

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