Atopic Dermatitis: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment
Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, dermatitis, and atopy, is a chronic skin condition. It often affects infants and small children. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to twenty percent of people all over the world suffer from this skin condition. The symptoms vary in intensity, and may be controlled in numerous ways. Patients are advised to change their lifestyles and seek medical treatment.
In general, there are several types of atopic dermatitis: contact, allergic, seborrheic, neurodermatitis, nummular, and stasis dermatitis. Contact allergic dermatitis occurs when the skin gets in contact with an allergen such as poison ivy. Neurodermatitis results from too much scratching. It typically involves increased skin sensitivity, inflammation, and scaling. Nummular dermatitis is itchy, scaly, and appears in round patches.
Seborrheic dermatitis usually occurs in babies. It causes oily and yellowish skin patches to appear on the body. It can also affect adults, and usually causes dandruff. Stasis dermatitis, on the other hand, is associated with varicose veins and poor circulation. It often occurs in the lower extremities, and causes skin to darken. It may also cause itches. Dyshidrotic eczema occurs on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. It typically involves lesions that look like blisters.
Atomic dermatitis may occur in different areas of the body. Where it occurs basically depends on the case of the patient. Infants and small children usually develop it on the chin and cheeks. Some may have it on the scalp. In adults, it usually occurs as patches of dry, itchy, and swollen skin on the hands and insides of the knees and elbows. They may also experience flaking and itching of the scalp.
Symptoms and treatment of atopic dermatitis
If you have this skin condition, you should try to minimize your exposure to irritants to keep symptoms less painful and manageable. As much as possible, you should stay away from wool and synthetic fabrics. You should also refrain from using scented products such as lotions and soaps because they contain ingredients that may worsen your condition. Women who frequently experience flare ups should stop wearing makeup that irritates their skin.
Likewise, you should avoid going to places where irritants may be present. You should avoid being exposed to mold, dust, smoke, and pollen. If you are commuting, try to wear clothes that will protect you against these elements. You should also try to avoid certain food products such as eggs, nuts, and milk since they usually trigger allergies. This is especially important if you have a history of this skin condition in your family.
Doctors generally prescribe medication for atopic dermatitis. These medications can be bought from your local drugstore. You may use topical medications such as corticosteroid creams or ointments to help soothe inflamed skin. You may also use antihistamines to help reduce itchiness. In addition, you may take oral antibiotics to counter the risk of infections. These antibiotics are also effective in treating existing infections.
You may even use light therapy with medication. Based on the statistics gathered by the American Academy of Dermatology, patients have reported an improvement in their condition through this treatment method. Light therapy involves the exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light. This treatment is recommended to be done two or three times per week. It may be combined with topical medications to speed healing.
Of course, you should also try to control yourself. You should keep your fingernails short to avoid scratching your skin and worsening atopic dermatitis. You should also wear clothes that can protect your skin against scratching and rubbing. Just try to stay away from wool and other fabrics that may make you itch more.