What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis (also known as AD or eczema) is one of the most common forms of eczema an individual can get. Nearly 18 million Americans have this type of eczema. Atopic dermatitis typically appears red and itchy on a person’s skin. It is commonly found on a person’s cheeks, arms, and/or legs. It is a chronic condition that usually starts in early childhood (after about the first 6 months of a baby’s life) but can occur at any age. As a child gets older, they grow out of eczema but some may have flares all the way up to their adulthood. This condition can sometimes improve throughout a person’s life or get worse. No cure has currently been found for atopic dermatitis. But, there are treatments and self-care measures including Moisture-All that can help relieve and hydrate the skin. Other conditions can spark atopic dermatitis. These include asthma and/or hay fever. Individuals who have these conditions or have family members who obtain them have a higher chance to develop atopic dermatitis.
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?
A direct external cause has not been discovered for the reason why people get atopic dermatitis. However, researchers do know the related gene variation and other factors that are involved for the condition. The skin on an individual’s body is designed to retain moisture and protect them from outside harm such as bacteria, irritants, and allergens. When these genes are turned on, an individual is vulnerable to this outside harm. When outside bacteria, irritants, or allergens hit the immune system, the body overreacts and produces inflammation as a result. Then the symptoms of the red, itchy, and rashy skin then become present to the individual.
Also, researchers have found that individuals with atopic dermatitis have a mutation of the gene responsible for producing filaggrin. Filaggrin is a type of protein that creates a protective barrier on the very top of the skin. A lack of this protective layer will result in a loss of moisture and be more prone to bacteria and viruses entering the body.
Additionally, since there is a genetic factor that can be tied to an individual getting atopic dermatitis, it runs in families. If a parent has atopic dermatitis, hay fever, or asthma then the chances of a child getting one of these diseases are about 50%. The changes increase greatly if both of the parents display at least some of the conditions. This form of eczema is not contagious. No one can spread this condition to another individual in any way, except genetically.
Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms
Because the condition is chronic, it’s not something that goes away in a few days or weeks. As mentioned above, eczema can get better or worse throughout an individual’s lifetime. The main symptom of atopic dermatitis is very itchy skin. The skin can become very damaged if the individual scratches or rubs the infected area frequently. Atopic dermatitis can form anywhere on the body but is more common on the arms, legs, or cheeks of a person. Additional signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:
- Dry skin
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
- Cracks behind the ears
- Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
- Cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, irritated, and/or swollen skin from rubbing or scratching
Atopic Dermatitis Treatment
Forms of atopic dermatitis are more severe than others. Depending on the condition of eczema, different treatments include topical medications, phototherapy, immunosuppressant drugs, and biologic drugs. Summer Laboratories offers a number of products that help any individual from infants to adults. Our eczema creams and lotions are formulated to treat dry and irritated skin for optimal relief. Please contact us about any questions you might have on our products.