Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema or atopic eczema is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It is a very common condition in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
Unfortunately there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, however, treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.
What are signs and symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis?
Though they vary widely from person to person signs and symptoms may include:
Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and, in infants, the face and scalp
Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
Thickened, cracked, dry, scaly skin
Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Atopic dermatitis most often begins before age 5 and may continue into adolescence and adulthood. For some people, it flares periodically and then clears up for a time, even for several years.
What can worsen Atopic Dermatitis?
Most people with atopic dermatitis also have Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on their skin. The staph bacteria multiply rapidly when the skin barrier is broken and fluid is present on the skin. This in turn may worsen symptoms, particularly in young children. Atopic dermatitis is also related to allergies. But eliminating allergens is rarely helpful in clearing the condition. Occasionally, items that trap dust — such as feather pillows, down comforters, mattresses, carpeting and drapes — can worsen the condition.
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is unknown. Healthy skin helps retain moisture and protects you from bacteria, irritants and allergens. The following can worsen Atopic Dermatitis:
Dry skin, which can result from long, hot baths or showers
Scratching, which causes further skin damage
Bacteria and viruses
Solvents, cleaners, soaps and detergents
Wool in clothing, blankets and carpets
Dust and pollen
Tobacco smoke and air pollution
Eggs, milk, peanuts, soybeans, fish and wheat, in infants and children
A gene variation that affects the skin’s barrier function
Immune system dysfunction
Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, on the skin that creates a film that blocks sweat glands
Other environmental conditions such as changes in heat and humidity
What are some risk factors for developing Atopic Dermatitis?
A personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma
Being a health care worker, which is linked to hand dermatitis
Living in urban areas
Having parents with a high level of education
Attending child care
Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
What are some complications of Atopic Dermatitis?
Asthma and hay fever. Eczema sometimes precedes these conditions.
Chronic itchy, scaly skin. A skin condition called neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus) starts with a patch of itchy skin. You scratch the area, which makes it even itchier. Eventually, you may scratch simply out of habit. This condition can cause the affected skin to become discolored, thick and leathery.
Skin infections. Repeated scratching that breaks the skin can cause open sores and cracks. These increase your risk of infection from bacteria and viruses, including the herpes simplex virus.
Eye problems. Signs and symptoms of eye complications include severe itching around the eyelids, eye watering, inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis) and inflammation of the eyelid (conjunctivitis).
Irritant hand dermatitis. This especially affects people whose work requires that their hands are often wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents and disinfectants.
Allergic contact dermatitis. This condition is common in patients with atopic dermatitis. Many substances can cause an allergic skin reaction, including corticosteroids, drugs often used to treat people with atopic dermatitis.
Sleep problems. The itch-scratch cycle can cause you to awaken repeatedly and decrease the quality of your sleep.
Behavioral problems. Studies show a link between atopic dermatitis and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, especially if a child is also losing sleep.
Cold air, wind and indoor heat are only three of the reasons your skin suffers in the winter. These conditions draw the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dull, dry, itchy and irritated. Additionally, certain skin conditions including dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, and “winter itch” can develop or become aggravated in the winter. The following skin care tips can help to protect your skin this winter.
Warm, not hot water. Hot water in the shower or bath strips your body of its natural oil barrier. You need that barrier to help trap moisture and keep your skin smooth and soft. Limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes.
Cleanse gently. Wash with a soapless cleanser when you shower. Gentle soaps, cleansing milks and mild foaming cleansers that are free of fragrance are a great option. Blot your skin dry.
Moisturize more. Moisturizer traps water in our skin. To trap this moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after showering. A moisturizer that worked great in the summer may not work as well in the winter. Creams and ointments may be more effective than lotions.
Shave smarter. Shaving strips natural oils from your skin and can irritate dry skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology the best time to shave is after you shower. Hairs are more pliable and softer, making shaving easier.
Dedicated to your skin
Don’t forget your lips! The skin on the lips lack oil glands therefore they tend to get dry and cracked easily. Take special care to keep lips nourished and moisturized with a good quality lip lotion or balm.
Protect your eyes. The sun’s rays penetrate even when it is cloudy, snowing or overcast. A good pair of sunglasses will protect both the skin around the eyes and the eye itself. Choose sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Cover up. Sunscreen is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer as the sun’s reflective powers (off snow and sand) are great year round. Sun damage is one of the main causes behind dry skin, wrinkles, and roughness. You can help prevent that damage by wearing broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen year-round and dressing right.
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If you suffer from acne, we have good news and great news. The good news is that the cycle of acne can almost always be broken with proper care and a quality regimen. The great news is that Kuflik Dermatology has assembled an acne care kit that can make this happen for you.
What is the acne cycle? Simply put, acne can be seen as a cycle of things that happen in your skin and acne treatment focuses on breaking this cycle.
Acne-prone skin often secretes excess oil or “sebum” that combines with old skin cells that naturally flake off of the top layer of your skin.
The oil and skin cells can clog your pores, creating a “plug”. This is the start of a pimple.
With the opening of the pore plugged up, the P. acnes bacteria found in our skin can have quite a feast! These bacteria multiply and your immune system is called into action, resulting in inflammation
Inflammation in your pores and deep in your skin can cause damage, resulting in pain, redness or even scarring
How we break the acne cycle Acne treatment is customized to your personal situation, and it’s advised that you see a medical expert to create a plan that works for you. In general, there are a number of ways to “break” this acne cycle. These include:
Control the excess oil produced by the skin
Clear up the dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin
AcneWORX is a spot-treatment medication that contains 2% salicylic acid. It works by dissolving the “plug” that helps pimples form and it also has anti-inflammation properties. AcneWORX has a unique formula that is rich in lipids that support your natural skin barrier. Other products often contain harsh alcohols than can cause irritation, but AcneWORX is water-based and more gentle on your skin.
AcneWORX was shown to decrease all pimples by 48% and newer (non-inflamed) pimples by 72%.
Have acne? Call today to schedule an acne check-up and get your customized plan!
You shouldn’t have to live with the negative effects of acne. Call Kuflik Dermatology today and schedule an appointment for an acne check-up and evaluation so we can customize a plan that works for you. Call (732) 341 – 0515 x 150