Did you know that atopic dermatitis affects 1 in 10 Americans? Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that can make your skin dry, red, itchy, inflamed, or it may have a rash-like appearance. Atopic Dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. Atopic dermatitis usually begins by the age of 5 and can last into adolescence. For some people, atopic dermatitis may resolve by the time they turn 18, but for others, it can persist into adulthood. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can come and go, and for some, it can cause symptoms that interfere with everyday life.
What are the Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis?
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis can vary from person to person but often include the following:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Red or brown, scaly patches on the skin
- Small red or raised bumps on the skin
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but healthcare providers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the development of atopic dermatitis. People who have atopic dermatitis are also more likely to have asthma, food allergies, or seasonal allergies.
People with atopic dermatitis may have triggers that can worsen their symptoms. These include:
- Contact with irritating chemicals
- Cold, dry air
- Pollen, dust mites, or other allergic triggers
- Excess stress
- Dyes or fragrances
How is Atopic Dermatitis Treated?
Taking care of your skin and avoiding triggers are most effective if your atopic dermatitis is mild. This can include:
- Avoid scratching the affected skin
- Keeping nails short
- Moisturizing the skin with unscented lotions or creams
- Using gentle, unscented cleansers to clean the skin
- Using laundry detergents that contain no fragrance
- Avoiding other known triggers
If your atopic dermatitis does not improve, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications, such as topical steroids or other topical ointments, to help control the inflammation and itching or recommend special baths or wraps. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis vary so It is best to speak to your healthcare provider to see what the best treatment option is for you.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis),” April 19, 2017, https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/eczema-atopic-dermatitis
American Academy of Dermatology Association, “Eczema Types: Atopic Dermatitis Overview,” https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/types/atopic-dermatitis
Mayo Clinic, “Atopic dermatitis (eczema),” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273
National Eczema Association, “Atopic Dermatitis,” https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/atopic-dermatitis/
Cleveland Clinic, “Eczema,” October 28, 2020, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9998-eczema#symptoms-and-causes
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, “Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis),” https://acaai.org/allergies/types-allergies/skin-allergy/eczema-atopic-dermatitis
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Treatment,” https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/eczema-treatment