Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that makes your skin red and itchy. It is a common skin condition in babies but can develop at any age. Atopic dermatitis is chronic and has the tendency to get worsened with time gradually. It can also be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. There is no proper course of treatment for atopic dermatitis. However, there are some ways and self-care tips that can ease symptoms such as itching and redness, and prevent new outbreaks. It helps if you avoid harsh soaps, moisturize your skin regularly, and apply medicated creams or ointments. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Meddo Dr. Nirupama Skin Clinic, Dr. Nirupma Pushkarna, Dermatologist, Cosmetologist, about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of atopic dermatitis.
Atopic dermatitis symptoms
It is one of the commonest types of eczema. There is basically dry and itchy skin which is the hallmark of this condition. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person. These rashes can appear on the face and limbs usually. As per Dr. Nirupma, here are the main symptoms of atopic dermatitis:
- Dry skin
- Red or brownish gray patches
- Itching, especially at night
- Scaly skin
- Raised bumps with leaky fluid
Atopic dermatitis causes
Atopic dermatitis is caused by the tendency per allergy which is there genetically in a person. Healthy skin helps in keeping moisture for long and it also protects your skin from bacteria, irritants and other allergens. Atopic dermatitis is linked to the genetic factor that affects the skin's power to provide this protection. This allows your skin to get affected by environmental factors, irritants and allergens. In some children, food allergies can also play a major role in triggering atopic dermatitis. However, there are some triggers of atopic dermatitis besides genetic factor, such as:
- Change in season
- Chemicals and detergents
- Dry skin
- Certain clothing
Atopic dermatitis diagnosis and treatment
There is no specific medical test that is required to diagnose atopic dermatitis (eczema). The doctor will most likely make a diagnosis by looking at your skin closely and reviewing your medical history. The dermatolgist might also try patch testing or other tests to rule out other skin conditions that can occur along with eczema. And, atopic dermatitis can be persistent as well. You might have to try different treatments for months or years to control it.
And, even if any course of treatment is successful, signs and symptoms have a chance of coming back or flaring. It is important to diagnose the condition on time so that you can start the treatment. If regular moisturizing and other self-care measures don't help, your doctor might suggest medications, creams to control itching and even might therapy. Atopic dermatitis most often develops before the age 5 and can flare up till adolescence and adulthood. For some people, it gets worsened gradually but then clears up for a while, even for several years, and then occurs again.
So, these were the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment for atopic dermatitis by Dr. Nirupma Pushkarna. Atopic dermatitis can be even more stressful, discomforting and embarrassing for adolescents and young adults. It can interfere with their sleeping cycle and even result in depression. The main risk factor behind atopic dermatitis is having a genetic or family history of eczema, skin allergies, hay fever or asthma. You can prevent atopic dermatitis by moisturizing your skin as much as possible.
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