Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema vs. Atopic Dermatitis
The term atopic dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably to refer to a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation and irritation; however, this is not entirely accurate. Contrary to popular belief, eczema itself isn’t really the condition, but a description of the variety of skin diseases that cause the inflammation and irritation. Atopic dermatitis is one such condition.

Who can get it?
Atopic dermatitis is the most prevalent form of eczema. This common, and often persistent, skin disease affects a large percentage of people. While it is seen primarily in infants and children, it can also affect adults.

Signs and Symptoms and Causes, Oh My!
This condition typically presents as red, dry, itchy skin; however, it can be more severe and present with crusty or cracked skin, blisters and scaling. The condition often appears on the face, scalp, hands, feet or the back of knees. The true cause of this type of eczema is unknown, however suffers should understand that such things as cold weather, allergies, low levels of humidity and even the use of harsh skin products can aggravate the condition. There is evidence that seems to indicate a genetic link between the condition and other ‘atopic’ disorders like hay fever or asthma. Feel free to read more about this here.

Treatment
This condition, along with other types of eczema should be treated vigilantly, especially in severe cases. The conditions are not contagious, however if the blisters or cracked skin become infected the infection can spread to other parts of the body. The use of steroid creams has proved to be an effective treatment; however, one can safely manage their symptoms at home using moisturizers and lotions that keep the skin hydrated.

Other Forms of Eczema

  • Contact dermatitis – This differs from its atopic counterpart because it is caused by encountering a skin irritant and often presents with hives.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema – This condition is quite dissimilar as well as it causes blisters solely on hands and feet and is more prevalent amongst women.
  • Nummular eczema – This type of eczema looks very different from other types. It appears as coin-shaped spots on the skin that can be incredibly itchy.