A Beginner’s Guide to Atopic Dermatitis
It’s important to be able to recognize skin rashes, on both brown, black, and Caucasian skin tones. Some, like atopic dermatitis, could look really concerning, but isn’t contagious to others, although it’s itchy and very uncomfortable. What is atopic dermatitis, and how can you soothe symptoms?
What Is Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis is another term for eczema, which is a really common skin rash that occurs on joints. It can be really itchy, weepy, and painful, and look raised and red, or even have scaly yellow places. Atopic dermatitis occurs partially because of skin barrier dysfunction, as well as because of immune dysregulation. Generally it presents in bends of the body- places like the backs of knees and tops of finger joints, elbows, etc.
What Are Some Risk Factors?
Atopic dermatitis can have myriad risk factors, and often physicians go down the line when trying to figure out what is causing the itchy and uncomfortable rash. Sometimes an allergy, whether to soaps, foods, or outside triggers can cause the rashes. Often those who have it also have things like asthma or other bodily complications. It can be exacerbated by stress, and can trigger changes in the body which can result in autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, and other complications.
What Do You Do?
So what do you do? Most atopic dermatitis clears on its own as a child grows. It can manifest early in infancy, and disappear in adolescence. However, some persists. If it is particularly itchy or painful and cracked, it’s a good idea to attempt to work with your doctor to figure out the root cause. Allergy testing is a great first step. Keeping flares under control is a good ongoing option. Anything from dry skin to smoke, to other irritants can be a trigger, so figuring out what causes the flares is an individual process. Generally speaking however, allergy testing does help begin the process of determination, and physicians will go onward from that point.
When dealing with atopic dermatitis, don’t despair. It’s frustrating, but you can find solutions, if not a cure. There are various scent free lotions and oil combinations which can help to prevent further cracking. It can be really frustrating for the patient to try different products repeatedly, but like with allergens which cause flares, different things work for different individuals. Start with cold pressed oils that are less likely to cause allergic reactions.
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