WHAT IS ATOPIC DERMATITIS?
The term Atopic Dermatitis can be confusing. Also called dermatitis, a rash or eczema, Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is eczema.
This is a common disorder with 3 million cases diagnosed annually. In fact, there are more than 18 million American adults with this condition. Atopic Dermatitis usually begins as a rash that can be very itchy. Children, adults and even infants can develop this condition. It usually starts in children around 5 years of age. AD is a chronic condition meaning there is no cure with periods where your skin will flare up then get better. Don’t wait to see if it resolves on its own, the best course of action is to make an appointment with your dermatologist and get a diagnosis so you can control it in the early stages.
WHAT DOES ATOPIC DERMATITIS LOOK LIKE?
Symptoms include chronic itchy skin, that looks like a rash is red and swollen and in its most severe form blisters form that ooze, crust or flake off. The skin can take on a scaly appearance as it progresses. Areas that can be affected include the neck, chest, hands, even the eyelids.
Infants can present with red inflamed crusty areas on their cheeks, scalp and the body. Intense itching in both children and adults can be an indication of the condition.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Dermatologists don’t exactly know the cause. What we do know is eczema runs in families and triggers are different for everyone. Stress, dry skin, allergens from pet dander, soap and household items are all possible. This will be explained during your dermatology appointment.
It helps to be aware of your triggers so you can better manage outbreaks but there is help including medications to get your skin under control.
WHAT IS USED TO TREAT ATOPIC DERMATITIS?
Prescription medications like topical steroids, Eucrisa and Dupixent are some of the options available. The type of medication varies by individual. Your medical provider will discuss the best option for you and make other suggestions including how you take care of your skin at home. Your skin needs to be cared for with moisturizers that are non-irritating and fragrance-free. The consistency of the product will depend on the severity of the dryness. These products can be purchased over the counter but ask us during your appointment what is dermatologist recommended. Some patients do fine with a regular basic moisturizer, others need an ointment. Use only gentle soap and limit baths with water that isn’t too hot.
What are the Different Types of Dermatitis?
- Contact Dermatitis- is a rash from contact with a substance that triggers skin irritation. Common irritants are cosmetics, soap and fragrances or jewelry. Plants can also cause skin reactions like poison ivy.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema- looks like small fluid-filled blisters that intensely itch. They appear on the hands and soles of the feet.
- Neurodermatitis- starts with an itchy patch of skin that gets intensely itchy the more you scratch. The skin can look scaly and become thicker.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis-creates more scaly flakey patches of red skin on the scalp, face, chest, and back. This can also cause stubborn dandruff on the scalp.
- Statsis Dermatitis-is discolored and thickened the skin on the lower legs. It is caused by fluid buildup from circulatory issues.
Is it Time to Schedule an Appointment?
Persistent, itchy skin should be diagnosed by a dermatologist. This is the only way to be sure of what type of dermatitis you have and how best to treat it. Appointments are readily available, and we do take most insurance plans.