Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a relatively common skin disease that affects between 20% to 35% of all children and 2% to 10% of all adults, according to different researchers. In recent decades, the disease has been on the rise and according to some estimates it may affect up to 50% of all children in about 30 years.


More than 90% of all cases occur before 5 years of age, with the majority of cases developing within the first year of life. In half of all affected children overall improvement is observed after their 3rd year. Very rarely, dermatitis may occur for the first time at an adult age. About 1/3 of all patients develop asthma, allergic rhinitis or food allergy.


Development of atopic dermatitis is closely related to hereditary factors.


Atopic dermatitis progresses in three main stages:


1st stage – infantile. It starts during infancy, between the 3rd and 6th month. Mainly the face is affected: the cheeks and the chin without the area around the nose and the eyes.

2nd stage – childhood. It starts after the 3rd year and may occur before the 10th year in children. The most commonly affected areas are the popliteal folds and the antecubital folds (the anterior part of the elbows), the back of the hands and the feet.

3rd stage – after puberty. There is a tendency for single plaques.


Atopic character disorder – one of the most enduring and rapidly progressing signs of the atopic constitution. Children's behaviour during infancy is characterised by increased motor activity, crying and insomnia. These children have an imperative and imbalanced behaviour as they grow. They experience difficulties adapting the environment and itching is an additional factor that stimulates their restlessness. These children are usually smart and ambitious but need special attention and care. In general, the problematic season for patients suffering from atopic dermatitis are the cold months due to the dry and cold weather conditions. Their condition may worsen during the spring and the summer due to pollens, mainly in the exposed body areas.


Atopic dermatitis is a disease that is often treated inadequately and has a significant social and emotional effect on the patient and the patient's family. It may affect the daily routine and the physical activity.


Do not ignore the advice provided by dermatologists in regard to the care for your skin or that of your children in order to effectively and safely control the illness. Thus, you will be able to decrease the frequency of disease aggravation, as well as the need to use different medications.


Treatment is based on securing the normal functioning of the skin by restoring and keeping hydration and managing inflammation and potential superimposed infections.


In its acute form, the disease manifests with red spots, discharge of clear fluid and severe itching followed by scaling, rough skin and multiple scratches during chronic stages. Co-morbidities may include asthma bronchiale, hay fever, constipation, impaired concentration and irritability. Intense emotions may aggravate skin problems. 


As a rule, dry skin is a distinctive sign of people suffering from atopic dermatitis. It is established that dry skin is caused by a defect in the epidermal barrier and results in excessive loss of water from the skin.


The therapy of dermatitis is based on local corticosteroids which, however, should be selected in accordance with the potency of the medication, the period of administration and the size of the treated area. Other groups of medications such as calcineurin inhibitors, antihistamines and antibiotics are also in place but only a dermatologist can determine which is the most suitable one.


Phototherapy is another effective method for treating this problem. It can be used in more severe or acute forms of the disease, as well as to treat chronic conditions to prevent possible relapses. Treatment is performed in a special booth that emits UVA, UVB rays or a combination of both types. The intensity of the rays is selected by a qualified dermatologist and in accordance with your health condition.


The type of hygienic product used is essential for faster healing. Standard soaps and shower gels may cause drying and irritation. It is recommended to use the ones that do not contain soaps and leave a mild film on the skin which helps to prevent water in the skin from evaporating.


Emollients are a mandatory component in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. They will hydrate the skin and restore its softness and elasticity. This very property of theirs will help reduce the itching. The frequency of use and quantities of emollients administered are not limited. They are applied softly and gently with massaging moves. If emollients are used together with a local corticosteroid, you should first apply the medication and wait 30 minutes before applying the emollient. It is essential to avoid self-treatment and you should always consult a specialist in case of any complaints.


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