What is Atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is characterized by patches of itchy, inflamed, irritated skin. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of the global population is afflicted with this condition. Anyone with a family history of dermatitis, allergies, or asthma is more likely to develop atopic dermatitis. It is not contagious.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis
Affected areas of skin first become itchy and inflamed, which leads to scaling, weeping, crusting, cracking, and redness. These patches can appear anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the backs of knees, folds of arms, hands, wrists, and facial areas. Atopic dermatitis usually itches intensely, which can lead to excess scratching that exacerbates the condition.
Causes of atopic dermatitis
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not fully understood, although we know that it is frequently associated with allergic reactions. The skin reaction is an effect of your immunity response to certain conditions or substances. Environmental factors, stress, and other irritants also play a role.
Usually, atopic dermatitis develops before the age of one. Many people “outgrow” it, but the condition can persist through adulthood. For some people, it cycles through active stages and periods of remission. Additionally, adults who were afflicted with atopic dermatitis in childhood may have especially dry or sensitive skin.
Atopic dermatitis treatment at Dr. W Dermatology
There is no known cure for this condition, but the symptoms can be controlled with a cooperative effort between you and your dermatologist. Treatment may include corticosteroids for inflammation, antihistamines for itching, along with moisturizers. If secondary infections develop, they can be treated with oral or topical antibiotics.
Patient education is an important part of atopic dermatitis treatment. We will help you learn to identify and avoid circumstances that aggravate your condition, as well as develop a healthy skin care regimen. Some of the best ways to reduce the symptoms include:
- Take a bath in lukewarm water.
- Wear light clothing made of non-irritating fabrics.
- Use moisturizers frequently.
- Avoid getting overheated.
- Wear mitts at night to prevent scratching in your sleep.
Call (281) 771-0494 and schedule an appointment at Dr. W Dermatology. We will be happy to see you at our Houston office.