Itching on the skin is a very common issue that all of us may face but when this is persistent, and skin starts becoming red and rashes start to appear, then its time to watch out!

It could be a sign of Atopic Dermatitis. Atopic Dermatitis is a very common chronic inflammatory skin disease.

How can I recognize it?

The major symptom to recognize atopic dermatitis is an itch. In children and infants, red rashes majorly appear on the face, inner arms, back of the neck and on the skin behind the knees. Some adults may experience hand eczema as well. Excessive drying of skin or darkening of the skin around eyes and neck are another major symptom that can be looked for individuals with AD can also tend to have problems related to skin allergy and seasonal asthma.

Who is the culprit?

Genetics plays a very important role in this. People who have a family history of same have positive chances to suffer from AD. Natural Moisturising factor in the skin is compromised in AD which is responsible for maintaining a barrier of the skin, this is also commonly known as “Barrier Defect”. In this condition, skin tends to lose water and compromised barrier allow the entry of bacteria and irritants into the skin.

What are the triggering factors?

1. Woollen products

2. Sweating

3. Food: Cow’s Milk, egg, peanuts, fish, nuts, kiwi, wheat flour.

4. Flares may be associated with seasonal change, stress, activity, throat infection or contact allergy.

Can it be treated?

The goal of treatment in atopic dermatitis is to decrease the symptoms of itch and make people more comfortable. This can be done using ceramide-based creams which effectively locks moisture in and reduce the symptoms. These days’ steroid-free topical immunomodulators are also used

Tips for Disease Management

  • The immediate layer of clothing touching the skin must be soft. Cotton is quite comfortable and can be layered in the winter. Woollen clothes should be avoided.
  • Cool temperatures, particularly at night, are helpful because sweating causes irritation and itch.
  • A humidifier (cool mist) prevents excess drying and should be used in both winters, when the heating dries the atmosphere, and also in summers when air conditioning absorbs the moisture from the air.
  • Clothes should be washed in a mild detergent with no bleach or fabric softener.
  • Probiotics have been recommended as a therapeutic option for the treatment of AD. The rationale for their use is that bacterial products may induce an immune response and therefore inhibit the development of allergic IgE antibody production.
  • A child who suffers from atopic eczema can swim, but chlorine and salt may irritate his or her skin. After swimming, the child should rinse off, dry (without rubbing) and apply moisturizing cream to the entire body.
  • Can play sports, however, sweat causes scratching.
  • Pets with fur or hair should not sleep in the child's bed or on the sofa.
  • The house must be vacuumed at least three times per week.
  • Moisturization is the best solution for disease management. It is highly advisable to use ceramides containing moisturizer and use them liberally immediately after shower and bath.
  • Say no, no to harsh soaps and cleansers as they can strip of remaining essential oils from the skin. Use paraben and perfume free mild cleansers.
  • Do shower daily at least for 10 mins in lukewarm water followed by application of moisturizer.

Always take expert advice on this, consult your dermatologist for prescription treatments which will aid in reducing symptoms and make you more comfortable.