Atopic dermatitis is considered as the most common type of eczema. This skin condition usually starts in childhood with an itchy rash that has a “come and go” nature as well as affecting both sides of the body correspondingly. Atopic dermatitis can cause the affected skin to end up inflamed with redness and accompanied by cracking, swelling, crusting, weeping and scaling.
If an individual starts to develop any of these signs and symptoms, it might indicate the development of atopic dermatitis. Once this occurs, proper treatment is vital to manage the discomfort the skin condition causes.
Meaning of atopic
The term “atopic” was used to describe a group of individuals who have a family or personal history of having one or more of the following conditions:
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- Atopic dermatitis
Complicated cause of atopic dermatitis
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis has been debated throughout the years by healthcare professionals. It is believed to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors but the exact cause is unknown.
It is clear that atopic dermatitis tends to run in families, but family members can experience it in varying degrees from minimal dry skin during the winter or extensive rashes that entail several treatment measures to control. In addition, stress can worsen the symptoms but will not cause the disease.
Atopic dermatitis can cause the development of skin itchiness that urges the individual to scratch the affected area. These individuals seem highly sensitive to itching and there is the need to scratch longer for relief. The scratching and rubbing irritates the skin and worsens the inflammation which leads to more itching and scratching. This cycle even persists while the individual is asleep. Take note that the itchiness becomes noticeable at night when the individual is less busy.
Even though the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is still unknown, studies led to the discovery of various factors that might play a role in this annoying skin condition. Some of the vital concepts that are under scrutiny by the healthcare professionals include the following:
- Abnormalities in the barrier function of the skin
- Overreaction of the skin to a variety of substances or objects it comes in contact with
- The reason why atopic skin does not fight off infections
- Changes in various immune system cells particularly the T-cells
- Changes in the structure of the skin among individuals who have had atopic dermatitis for a long time
- Overreact of the various chemicals in the body that trigger swelling, inflammation and redness
An individual who ends up with eczema might have a link genetically or triggered by certain conditions or substances. Depending on the cause, it is best to consult a doctor so that proper treatment measures can be started.