Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema: What You Need to Know
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked. Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage, but with the right treatment and care, it’s possible to control symptoms and improve your quality of life. At Medrocs Pharmacy, we’re committed to helping you find the right solutions for your eczema symptoms.
Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. But it may also develop for the first time in adults. It’s usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older.
Understanding the Causes and Triggers of Atopic Dermatitis
While the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, it’s believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some common triggers of eczema include stress, allergens, certain foods, and harsh chemicals. By identifying your triggers and avoiding them whenever possible, you can reduce the frequency and severity of eczema symptoms.
Treating Atopic Dermatitis: Conventional and Alternative Options
There are many atopic dermatitis treatments available, ranging from conventional medications to alternative therapies. Some common conventional treatments for eczema include topical corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and phototherapy. Alternative therapies may include acupuncture, herbal remedies, and massage. At Medrocs Pharmacy, we can help you explore your options and find the right treatment plan for your needs.
Managing Eczema Symptoms: Tips and Strategies
Living with atopic dermatitis can be challenging, but there are many strategies you can use to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. Some helpful tips include keeping your skin moisturized, avoiding harsh soaps and detergents, wearing soft, breathable fabrics, and using cool compresses to soothe itching and inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend specific medications or treatments to help alleviate symptoms.
Preventing Atopic Dermatitis Flare-Ups: Lifestyle Changes and Strategies
In addition to managing eczema symptoms, it’s also important to take steps to prevent flare-ups and keep your skin healthy. Some helpful strategies include avoiding triggers, reducing stress, getting regular exercise, and eating a healthy, balanced diet. By making these lifestyle changes and working with your healthcare provider, you can reduce the frequency and severity of eczema symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.
Skincare Products for Atopic Dermatitis: What to Look For
When you have atopic dermatitis, it’s important to use gentle, non-irritating skincare products that won’t aggravate your symptoms. Look for products that are free of fragrances, dyes, and other potential irritants, and consider using a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. At our pharmacy, we can recommend specific products that are safe and effective for people with eczema.
What are different types of Eczema?
In general, there are several types of Eczema, which affect the whole skin of the body. Most common types are:
What are Symptoms of Atopic dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person and include:
- Dry skin
- Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
- Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and in infants, the face and scalp
- Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
- Thickened, cracked, scaly skin
- Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Atopic dermatitis most often begins before age 5 and may persist into adolescence and adulthood. For some people, it flares periodically and then clears up for a time, even for several years.
Common Causes of Eczema
Healthy skin helps retain moisture and protects you from bacteria, irritants and allergens. Eczema is related to a gene variation that affects the skin’s ability to provide this protection. This allows your skin to be affected by environmental factors, irritants and allergens.
- Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. “Atopic” means sensitivity to allergens.
- It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
- The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
- Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema.
You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.
Allergy tests are not usually needed, although they’re sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
The primary risk factor for atopic dermatitis is having a personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma.
Complications of atopic dermatitis (eczema) may include:
- Asthma and hay fever. Eczema sometimes precedes these conditions. More than half of young children with atopic dermatitis develop asthma and hay fever by age 13.
- Chronic itchy, scaly skin. A skin condition called neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus) starts with a patch of itchy skin. You scratch the area, which makes it even itchier. Eventually, you may scratch simply out of habit. This condition can cause the affected skin to become discolored, thick and leathery.
- Skin infections. Repeated scratching that breaks the skin can cause open sores and cracks. These increase the risk of infection from bacteria and viruses, including the herpes simplex virus.
- Irritant hand dermatitis. This especially affects people whose work requires that their hands are often wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents and disinfectants.
- Allergic contact dermatitis. This condition is common in people with atopic dermatitis.
- Sleep problems. The itch-scratch cycle can cause poor sleep quality.
The following tips may help prevent bouts of dermatitis (flares) and minimize the drying effects of bathing:
- Moisturize your skin at least twice a day. Creams, ointments and lotions seal in moisture. Choose a product or products that work well for you. Using petroleum jelly on your baby’s skin may help prevent development of atopic dermatitis.
- Try to identify and avoid triggers that worsen the condition. Things that can worsen the skin reaction include sweat, stress, obesity, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen. Reduce your exposure to your triggers.Infants and children may experience flares from eating certain foods, including eggs, milk, soy and wheat. Talk with your child’s doctor about identifying potential food allergies.
- Take shorter baths or showers. Limit your baths and showers to 10 to 15 minutes. And use warm, rather than hot, water.
- Take a bleach bath. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends considering a bleach bath to help prevent flares. A diluted-bleach bath decreases bacteria on the skin and related infections. Add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of household bleach, not concentrated bleach, to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Measures are for a U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes.Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for about 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head. Take a bleach bath no more than twice a week.
- Use only gentle soaps. Choose mild soaps. Deodorant soaps and antibacterial soaps can remove more natural oils and dry your skin.
- Dry yourself carefully. After bathing gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
Treatment Options for Atopic Dermatitis
Common Prescription/Non Prescription options for AD treatment may include:
Ointments like petroleum jelly are thick, and they hold water into the skin.
Creams are also thick, and they’re less greasy than ointments.
Lotions don’t protect skin as well as ointments and creams because they’re thinner and they contain a lot of water.
Over-the-counter cream or ointment versions of it may help mild eczema. If yours is severe, you may need a prescription dose.
Ones you take by mouth are available over-the-counter and may help relieve symptoms. Some of these make you drowsy, but others don’t.
Prescription based high strength corticosteroids may include
This involves exposure to UVA or UVB waves. This method can treat moderate dermatitis.
Few effective treatment options that works with your immune systems include:
If other treatments don’t help. There are also prescription creams and ointments that treat eczema by controlling inflammation and reducing immune system reactions. Examples include:
- pimecrolimus (Elidel), which is a cream, and
- crisaborole (Eucrisa) and
- tacrolimus (Protopic), which are ointments.
Biologics (or, biological agents) are injectable treatment options derived from living organisms (like human DNA). They specifically target parts of your overactive immune system. Interleukin inhibitors are examples of biologic treatments for eczema.
Natural Remedies for Atopic Dermatitis: A Holistic Approach
While conventional atopic dermatitis treatments can be effective, many people are interested in natural remedies for eczema. Some popular options include coconut oil, oatmeal baths, and probiotics. These natural treatments may help soothe eczema symptoms without the use of harsh chemicals or medications.
Topical Corticosteroids for Eczema: Prescription Treatments
For more severe cases of eczema, your doctor may recommend topical corticosteroids. These prescription medications work by reducing inflammation and itching in the affected area. While corticosteroids can be effective, they can also have side effects, so it’s important to use them only as directed.
Dermatitis Types and Treatment: Understanding Your Condition
Atopic dermatitis is just one type of dermatitis, which refers to any inflammation of the skin. Other types of dermatitis include contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and nummular dermatitis. Each type of dermatitis has its own unique symptoms and treatment options, so it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to find the right solution for you.
Skin Inflammation and Itching: Managing Eczema Symptoms
Atopic dermatitis can be incredibly frustrating, but there are ways to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. Some tips for managing eczema include keeping your skin moisturized, avoiding triggers like harsh soaps or detergents, and wearing soft, breathable fabrics. Your doctor may also recommend medications or other treatments to help alleviate symptoms.
Eczema Triggers and Prevention: Keeping Your Skin Healthy
While there’s no cure for atopic dermatitis, there are steps you can take to prevent flare-ups and keep your skin healthy. Common eczema triggers include stress, allergens, and certain foods. By identifying your triggers and taking steps to avoid them, you can reduce the frequency and severity of eczema symptoms.
Allergic Reactions and Skin Conditions: Understanding the Connection
If you have atopic dermatitis, you may be more prone to other allergic reactions or skin conditions. For example, some people with eczema also have allergies to pollen, pet dander, or certain foods. By working with your healthcare provider and being vigilant about your skin health, you can manage multiple conditions and stay healthy.
Best Skincare for Atopic Dermatitis: Tips and Recommendations
When you have atopic dermatitis, it’s important to take care of your skin with gentle, non-irritating skincare products. Look for products that are free of fragrances, dyes, and other potential irritants. Your doctor may also recommend specific products or treatments that can help soothe eczema symptoms and keep your skin healthy.
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