What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic Dermatitis is one of the most common types of eczema that causes the skin to become discolored, itchy, and sometimes leathery and cracked. These cracks in the skin make it difficult for the skin to retain moisture and often lead to dryness and irritation as the skin’s barrier is weakened. For many people, this problem develops in infancy and goes away in adulthood. However, for some, the problem tends to develop later in life.
What causes it?
Eczema tends to run in families. People with a history of asthma or hay fever tend to be more susceptible to this due to an overactive immune system. While we aren’t always sure of the exact cause of atopic dermatitis, we do know that there are a few common triggers which include:
· Changes in seasons
· Contact with irritating substances (fragrances, synthetic fabrics)
· Excessively dry skin
What are the symptoms?
Almost always with eczema the skin will be itchy, enflamed, and irritated. Patches of thickened skin often show up as a sign of prolonged itchiness and irritation as well as sores and cuts to the skin.
What is the solution?
I encourage many of my patients to avoid certain irritants like fragrances and scented products as well as soaps that can be very drying to the skin. Unscented, handmade soaps are often beneficial as they can be very moisturizing to the skin. I also encourage clients to reduce the use of lotions and opt instead for thicker products like Vaseline. Body butters and creams are often a good option for clients who are often averse to the use of Vaseline or ointment like products. During an eczema flare up, many patients benefit from a short course of topical steroids to help resolve the issue followed by continuous use of moisturizers that help to retain the skin’s moisture and preserve the skin’s protective barrier.
We offer telehealth virtual visits for clients currently experiencing eczema. If you are currently suffering from atopic dermatitis, please visit our website call our office to book your appointment!