Atopic Dermatitis

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that usually appears in childhood (however, it can less commonly appear in adulthood). Studies have shown that genetics may play a role in causing atopic dermatitis. Patients with atopic dermatitis usually have family members with eczema, asthma or hay fever.

Atopic dermatitis can look differently depending on the age of the patient:

Infants (0-2 years):

  • Rash causing skin to be dry, scaly and itchy
  • Forms on the scalp, face, ankles and feet
  • Can bubble up, ooze and release fluid

Children (2 years +):

  • Rash in the creases of the elbows or behind knees, neck, wrists, ankles, etc.
  • Pink, itchy, scaly patches

Treatment

Atopic dermatitis cannot be fully cured but it can be controlled with certain treatments and lifestyle modifications. Some kids with atopic dermatitis will grow out of it. Treatments include:

  • Prescription creams and prescription pills
  • Light therapy called narrowband UVB
  • Gentle soaps
  • Moisturizers
  • Bleach baths (done only as directed by physician)
  • Avoid hot showers/hot baths. Use only lukewarm water
  • Avoid extreme climates
  • Avoid wool and other irritating fabrics

Learn more at the American Academy of Dermatology: AAD Atopic dermatitis

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