What is it?
Atopic dermatitis is a very common chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that manifests with lesions that cause a lot of pain. It occurs in the form of outbreaks with itchy wounds and that are intermingled with signs of scratching. This type of eczema usually begins during the first six weeks of life (50% of cases) and almost always in the first five years of life (80% cases). It’s not contagious.
Who does it affect?
Often 30% of children have the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It’s more common in infants and children, but at any age can suffer.
People with relatives who have atopic dermatitis and who live in cities and dry climates are more susceptible to having this disease.
In the case of children, atopic dermatitis may improve or disappear with growth or lasted through adulthood.
Although the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown, this disease is the result of a combination of hereditary and environmental conditions.
One of the bases of atopic dermatitis is immunological. The cause why the skin be permanently irritated is by an excess of inflammatory cells (lymphocytes) so that the person reacts exaggeratedly to environmental stimuli. There’s also a defect in the production of sebum in both in quantity and in quality causing the water containing the epidermis to evaporate, providing a very dry appearance.
However we found a genetic basis. It is frequent that the patient or someone of their direct relatives suffer asthma, rhinitis or conjunctivitis allergic. It has been determined that if a person has atopic dermatitis, their children have a 40% chance of suffering it and a 25% of having rhinitis, conjunctivitis or allergic asthma. If both parents have atopic dermatitis, probability increases to 80%.
The signs of atopic dermatitis are recognized with the presence of scrapes, dry skin and scaling of the skin. It manifests in different areas of the body with roughness on the skin and red scaly plaques that cause pruritus.
In infants, the rash usually begins on the face or on the elbows and knees, areas that are easy to scratch. It can spread and involve the whole body. During childhood, the rash is mainly located in the folds of the elbows and knees and in some cases only affects the hands.
Atopic dermatitis is not definitely cured, but with treatment we can improve itching, inflammation and the appearance of the lesions.
The therapy to be followed will adapt according to the patient and the intensity. In general, the treatment consists of:
- Light cases: hygiene with greasy soaps or without detergent and moisturize the skin a lot and minimize contact with products or irritating factors.
- Moderate or very itchy cases: Masterly formula with anti-inflammatory, oral antihistamines and cortisone.
- Intense or very extensive cases: in this case the use of cortisone is contraindicated for its adverse effects, especially in babies and the phototherapy is recommended.
Phototherapy consists of the application of ultraviolet radiation type A and / or B inside a cabin. In terms of efficacy, safety and cost, it is the most recommended treatment in the treatment of this pathology. The radiation caused by phototherapy has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin, whenever medically controlled with a dose and adequate time. The advantage of phototherapy is that it is a very fast treatment (a session lasts a few minutes only), treats large body areas and has an optimal improvement response in a short time. As for the frequency, it is initially advised two or three times a week, once a favorable response is achieved, it would happen to perform one session per week or every two weeks. Children can be treated with phototherapy, in the same way parents can accompany the child during treatment.