Monday, September 12, 2011

Atopic dermatitis

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Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory pruritic skin disorder which is non-contagious. Other names of this disease are "prurigo Besnier," "neurodermitis," "endogenous eczema," "flexural eczema," "infantile eczema," and "prurigo diathésique".

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis varies with age. Skin is hypersensitive to allergens, irritants and some foods and become itchy, flaky and red. This irritability causes more vulnerability to infections by some bacteria.
Atopic dermatitis.1

Atopic dermatitis.2

Atopic symptoms like hay fever and asthma may also be present with dermatitis.

Psoriasis like dermatitis occurs in adults and older children.

Symptoms are more on areas like hands, feet, ankles, wrists, face, neck and upper chest. Symptoms varies with age and from person to person.


It affects 10–20% of children and 1–3% of adults in industrialized countries. It is affected in both men and women. Usually atopic dermatitis begins in childhood and persists throughout.


Epidermal Barrier Dysfunction

Some changes on genetic factors responsible for some structural proteins may cause dysfunction of epidermal barrier making skin more vulnerable to irritants and allergens.


Symptoms occurs only when the skin is exposed to allergens.

Microwave radiation

Studies have shown that microwaves like radiation from a cell phone may increase chances of dermatitis and worsen an existing allergic condition.

Food allergy

Some food may cause allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.

Histamine intolerance

Affected patients may have intolerance to exogenous histamine. Exogenous histamine means histamine from outside the body. In this case, body will have some difficulty in degrading histamines received from external sources. Histamine free diet is recommended for such individuals.


There is a strong genetic predisposition in atopic dermatitis.


Diet should be monitored to avoid foods that may cause allergic reaction.
Environment must be free of dust and allergens. Skin should be cared to prevent exposure to allergens drying.


Maintaining the skin barrier

All measures are to be taken to prevent exposure to allergens. A moisturizer may be used to prevent dryness of skin. It must be selected after consulting with your doctor.

Ceramide based creams may be used to prevent ceramide deficiency. It is one of the three lipids that comprise skin barrier.

The primary treatment involves prevention, includes avoiding or minimizing contact with (or intake of) known allergens. Once that has been established, topical treatments can be used Topical treatments focus on reducing both the dryness and inflammation of the skin.

To improve skin dryness, lotions containing sodium hyaluronate may be used.

An aqueous cream may be used instead of normal soap to maintain a healthy skin.
Prescription drugs

Topical corticosteroids, or injections are used to minimize allergic reactions. In severe cases, prednisone or cortisone may be necessary to control the allergic reaction.

Infections of skin, if present are treated with appropriate antibiotics as recommended by the physician.

Light (UV) therapy

Exposure to broad or narrow band UV light is found to be effective to decrease the severity and frequency of flares.

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