The Most Common Eczema – Atopic Dermatitis
Among the many major types of eczema, atopic dermatitis (sometimes called infantile eczema) is the most common. Most people develop atopic dermatitis before the age of five. This refers to a number of conditions where the skin is red and irritated.
“Atopic” means conditions where someone is sensitive to allergens like pollen, molds, dust, animal dander (fur and feathers), and some food. “Dermatitis” is the inflammation of the skin.
65% of the population develops atopic dermatitis during the first year of their lives, up to 90% until the age of 5. While it usually ends at the second year, around 50% suffers from it into adulthood as hand eczema.
Luckily, this kind of eczema is not contagious and there is no worry catching it from someone or giving it to anyone. It, however, runs in families where members have eczema, asthma or hay fever.
Red, itchy patches on the skin occur mostly in hands and feet. Other common areas are the elbow bends, backs of knees, ankles, wrists, necks and upper chests. But they can also happen anywhere in the body, including the face and around the eyes.
In infants, these patches develop on the scalp and face, especially on the cheeks.
Skins sometime swell, crack and develop scale. Without treatment, the skin protects itself from damage caused by scratching by developing a thick crust over the affected area.
Medical experts have not pinpointed the exact cause or causes of atopic dermatitis. There had been many false leads before.
However, they are one in the belief that the cause is a combination of complex interaction of many factors – our genes, where we live, chemical and organic pollutants, immune system malfunction, and a breakdown of the outermost skin layer.
Today, many risk factors related to atopic dermatitis eczema had already been isolated. Foremost is family history. If one or more members of your family had atopic conditions (dermatitis, asthma, hay fever), you have a good chance of developing the same.
Pollution-prone places also increase the risk of the illness. Females are slightly prone to the disease than males. It also tends to be more common in higher social classes and in families that are smaller in size.
Doctors usually look for a rash, and ask for the medical history of the patient and those of close relatives. The search is the presence of a history of atopic dermatitis, asthma or hay fever from everyone.
To learn if the patient has allergic contact dermatitis (another common eczema type), doctors conduct patch testing. This is a medical process for finding allergies.
Atopic dermatitis eczema cannot be cured. However, with proper treatment, most cases can be managed. The treatments are for hydrating the skin, reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of infection, and ease down the itchy feeling.
Doctors use emollients to relieve dry skin, compresses (cold) to relieve the itch, corticosteroids for inflammation reduction, and sometimes sedative antihistamines to help the patient sleep.
Today, doctors use a combination of therapies to treat skin discomfort and condition as well as having the patient makes lifestyle changes that help alleviate the illness. (Some of the triggers of common eczema such as atopic dermatitis are sometimes job-related.)
Getting to Know Eczema
Disclosure: Advertisements are placed on this website to offset the cost of maintenance and to keep this site free for everyone to use. Owners of this website will receive compensation for products and services purchased through featured advertisements. All claims of actual user results should be considered atypical.