Atopic Dermatitus Eczema

atopic dermatitus eczema

The National Eczema Association reports that atopic dermatitis is the most prevalent form of eczema in the United States, affecting nearly 20 million people. Marked by red, dry, and itchy rashes that usually appear on the face, arms, and legs, atopic dermatitis usually develops in infancy.

Atopic dermatitis can be as severe and stubborn as it is common due to its recurrent nature, defined by periods of outbreaks and remissions. While some children outgrow the condition as they age, others continue to experience flare-ups in adulthood.

Atopic dermatitis has a strong connection to two other vastly common allergy-driven conditions: asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Individuals with asthma, allergic rhinitis, or a family history of these conditions are at an increased risk of atopic dermatitis.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) Causes

The root cause of atopic dermatitis has yet to be unearthed. Scientists have discovered, however, that both genetic and environmental factors play a part in its development. In those who are genetically susceptible to develop atopic dermatitis, a substance can internally or externally prompt the immune system to react disproportionately, resulting in inflammation. This inflammation then leads to the appearance of red, dry, and itchy rashes.

Studies also reveal that some patients with eczema, particularly atopic dermatitis, possess a gene variation that affects the production of a protein known as filaggrin. This particular protein normally supports the protective function of the outermost layer of the skin or the skin barrier. When there is a lack of filaggrin, the skin barrier is not strong enough to retain moisture and keep out pathogens, which is the primary reason individuals with atopic dermatitis experience dry skin that is more susceptible to infections.

Studies also conclude that atopic dermatitis is genetic, though how exactly it is inherited remains a bit of a mystery. Regardless, the National Eczema Association explains that having a parent with asthma, atopic dermatitis, or allergic rhinitis increases the risk of a child developing at least one of these conditions by 50%. If a child has two parents with one or more of these diseases, his or her risk of developing these conditions is even higher.

Approximately 10% of the world’s population suffer from atopic dermatitis at least once in their lifetime, and the condition has a higher prevalence in densely populated regions and developed nations. However, atopic dermatitis is by no means contagious.

Atopic Dermatitis vs. Eczema

Atopic dermatitis is classified as a severe form of eczema. Individuals with atopic dermatitis also tend to undergo a variety of reactions throughout their lives such as:

  • Dry skin that is prone to irritation
  • Workplace-related skin conditions such as dermatitis on the hands
  • Skin infections such as staph
  • Vision problems such as cataracts or eyelid dermatitis

There are other forms of eczema that present themselves with irritation and itching, with some even causing scaling and blistering. It’s paramount to become familiar with the types of eczema that affect you to control it more effectively. The most surefire way to ascertain whether you or your kid has a type of eczema is to consult with a physician or dermatologist.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ piotr_marcinski

Posted on May 5, 2023