April 20, 2024

Atopic Eczema


| Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Diagnose | Treatment |

1. Overview:

Atopic eczema” is also known as atopic dermatitis which is a common skin disease. Children are primarily affected, while adults may also be affected.

Eczema is a skin disease that causes redness, itching, cracking, and dryness. In the majority, it is a chronic (long-term) condition, though it can become better with time, especially in younger people.

Although atopic eczema can affect any region of the body, the following are the most often affected areas:

  • Backs/fronts of the knees
  • Outside or inside of the elbows
  • Hands
  • Around the neck
  • Cheeks
  • Scalp

Atopic eczema patients typically experience flare-ups or episodes when their symptoms increase, as well as periods when their symptoms are less evident.

2. Causes of Atopic Eczema:

While the specific cause of atopic eczema is unidentified multiple factors certainly contribute to the condition. Those who have allergies frequently experience it; “atopic” refers to sensitivity to allergens.

It is frequently associated with other medical conditions like hay fever and asthma and can run in families.

Atopic eczema symptoms are frequently brought on by certain stimuli, including stress, detergents, soaps, and weather. Food allergies can occasionally be a factor, particularly in young children who have severe eczema.

There are some common causes of Atopic Eczema:

  • Irritants, such as bubble baths, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, soaps, and detergents.
  • Environmental variables, often known as allergens, include elements like dampness, cold, and dry weather, as well as more specialized items like mold, pollen, dust mites, and fur from pets.
  • Food allergies, including those to wheat, soy, peanuts, eggs, and cow milk.
  • Some materials, including wool and synthetic fabrics, are worn adjacent to the skin.
  • Hormonal fluctuations: women may experience worsening symptoms in the days preceding periods or during pregnancy.
  • Skin infections

3. Symptoms of atopic eczema:

Skin that has atopic eczema becomes red, itchy, dry, cracked, and angry in specific areas.

Typically, there will be times when the symptoms become better, followed by times when they worsen (flare-ups). Up to two or three flare-ups can happen per month.

Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most frequently affects the hands, particularly the fingers, backs of the knees, the insides of the elbows, and the face and scalp in young people. Adults are more likely to experience facial involvement.

Atopic eczema differs widely in intensity from person to person. There may just be little, sporadic itching patches of dry skin on people with moderate eczema. Atopic eczema can produce persistent itching and extensive red, irritated skin over the entire body in more severe cases.

In addition to causing bleeding on your skin and subsequent illnesses, scratching can disturb your sleep. Additionally, it may exacerbate itching, leading to a vicious cycle of frequent scratching and itching. This may result in restless nights and trouble focusing at work or school.

After the disease has improved, eczema-affected skin areas can quickly become lighter or darker. It is a “footprint” of previous inflammation rather than scarring or a side effect of steroid creams, and it will gradually return to its natural hue.

4. Diagnosing Atopic Eczema:

Atopic eczema is often diagnosed based on having any 3 or more of the following symptoms, and the itchy skin condition developed within the last year:

When you are analyzed by a medical professional, you should have irritated red skin in the creases of your skin, such as as the inner surfaces of your elbows or beneath your knees (or on the cheeks, outsides of elbows, or fronts of the knees in children 18 months or younger).

A history of skin irritation

Usually dry skin in the previous 12 months

A history of hay fever or asthma; children under 4 must have an immediate relative with one of these illnesses, such as a father, brother, or sister.

The disease began before the age of two (children under the age of 4 are exempt from this).

5. Treatment of Atopic Eczema:

Atopic eczema has a currently unknown treatment, however, some therapies help reduce the symptoms. As they get older, many kids discover that their symptoms naturally get better.

Treatments for atopic eczema primarily consist of:

  • Topical corticosteroids: creams and ointments used to minimize swelling and redness during flare-ups.
  • Emollients (moisturizers): used daily to prevent the skin from getting dry.

Morel treatments include bandages or special body suits to allow the body to heal underneath, topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus for eczema in sensitive areas not responding to simpler treatment, allergy medicine for severe itchiness, or more potent treatments provided by a dermatologist (skin specialist).

Below is an overview of a few atopic eczema treatments.

Self-care: You can take basic self-care measures along with the above-mentioned treatments to help reduce your symptoms and stop more issues.

Try to minimize the harm caused by scratches:  Since eczema often leads to itching, it might be very tempting to scrape the skin in such areas. However, scratching typically results in skin damage, which can exacerbate eczema.

Avoid triggers: Even though there might not be a clear cause for the eczema flare-ups, your chemist will work with you to identify possible causes.

Diet Change:  Certain foods, like eggs and cow’s milk, could increase the symptoms of eczema. But, you shouldn’t alter your diet considerably without talking to your doctor or chemist.

Emollients: Emollients are moisturizing treatments that are applied directly to the skin to smother it in a protective layer and stop it from losing water. They are frequently applied to aid in the treatment of scaly or dry skin disorders such as atopic eczema.