Atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis is considered as the most common form of eczema that typically affects children, but can also occur among adults. Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become red, itchy, dry and cracked. It is a long-term condition in many individuals but can improve over time especially among children.
Atopic eczema can affect any part of the body but the most common areas affected include the following:
- Front or back part of the knees
- Inside or exterior of the elbows
- Around the neck
Individuals who have atopic eczema typically have periods in which the symptoms are less evident as well as phases when the symptoms are severe or flare-ups.
What are the causes of atopic eczema?
The exact cause for this type of eczema is unknown but it is clear that it is not just one contributing factor. This often occurs among individuals who end up with allergies. There is also a tendency for the skin condition to run in families and often develops with other conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
The signs and symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers such as detergents, soaps, stress and even the weather. Oftentimes, food allergies also play a part especially among young children with severe eczema.
Treatment for atopic eczema
Even today, there is no cure for this type of eczema, but treatment can minimize the symptoms and most cases tend to subside over time. Nevertheless, severe cases of eczema often affect daily life significantly and some find it hard to cope mentally and physically. There is also an increased risk for skin infections. Various treatment options can be utilized to manage the symptoms including the following:
- Self-care techniques such as minimizing scratching and avoidance of triggers
- Topical corticosteroids work by reducing the swelling, itchiness and redness during flare-ups
- Emollients are utilized on a daily basis for dry skin
Who are at risk?
Children are mostly affected by atopic eczema before they reach 5 years old. Many develop the skin condition before their first birthday. It is important to note that atopic eczema can significantly improve or completely clear up in some children as they get older. Nevertheless, the condition can persist up to adulthood and can oftentimes develop for the first time in adults.
What are the other types of eczema?
There are also other types of eczema that can develop such as discoid eczema, varicose eczema, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema and seborrheic eczema. Depending on the type of eczema, consulting a doctor is vital so that proper treatment can be started.