Atopic dermatitis represents a dermatological condition which causes modification of the tegument that results in dryness, redness, itch, and the apparition of scales. It is most common among new-borns, children and adults. The cause is not completely understood yet, although the hereditary factors seem to play an important role. Among the majority of the people, the atopic dermatitis is caused by a dysfunction located in the epidermis, which represents the barrier between the body and the external environment. When the epidermis is intact, the entrance of irritant substances, allergens and microbes is hampered. Despite the increased popularity of this theory, the rash that occurs among children is rarely associated with food allergies.
In most cases, the symptoms occur before the age of 5. The localization of the lesions is different depending on age. Therefore, the lesions of the new-borns are located on their cheeks, scalp and the extension zone of the members. The area covered by the diaper is usually the one that is affected the most.
Among children and adults, the lesions are located on the antecubital fossa, popliteal fossa, the wrist, and the forearm. The tegument thickens and darkens because of the repeated scratching.
The diagnosis is based on the clinical exam executed by the dermatologist and the patient’s medical history. It is a chronic affliction with periods of time in which the malady aggravates and then alternates with remission.
The treatment consists of the elimination of the factors that aggravate the symptoms (excessive sweat, dry environment, emotional stress, sudden changes in environmental temperature, avoiding the exposure to cleaning solutions, soap, detergent, wool or synthetic fibres, dust, sand and cigarette smoke)
Other therapeutic options consist of: emollients, steroids – topic or systemic, phototherapy, calcineurin, oral antihistamines, immunosuppressive medicine. The dermatologist is going to decide what is the treatment that suits you best, depending on age, severity, clinical form, and localization.