ATOPIC ECZEMA (ATOPIC DERMATITIS)
Atopic skin is a popular term referring to the skin of people suffering from atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is not an ordinary skin condition that can be cured and forgotten once for all. First of all, it is a disease mainly of genetic origin, often called a disease of affluence. What are its causes and why is it called like this?
In fact, no single and exact cause of atopic eczema has been identified. The main factors that may contribute to the development of atopic eczema include: changing environmental conditions, air pollution, toxins, as well as food, which is now rich in preservatives, colourings and other modifying substances. The progress of civilization has caused dry and sensitive skins (i.e. those with an impaired hydrolipidic film) to respond to the above-mentioned factors with severe itching, burning, blisters, papules and pustules – these being the typical symptoms of atopic eczema.
It is a sad fact that atopic eczema is an incurable skin disease, but this does not mean you cannot relieve its symptoms and prevent the development of new ones. Conscious and regular skincare with dedicated care products may bring relief to the skin and improve its appearance.
HOW TO CARE FOR ATOPIC SKIN?
- Care conscientiously for your skin and protect the areas most prone to atopic eczema symptoms.
- Use dedicated products whose compositions were prepared and tested paying special attention to atopic skin problems.
- Avoid products damaging the skin’s hydrolipidic film (e.g. soap) and use mild cleansing products instead.
- Moisturise your skin with specialist products; by doing so, you will provide yourself with an additional layer of protection against the external factors which can intensify the symptoms.
MANY OTHER SYMPTOMS MAY ALSO OCCUR IN THE COURSE OF ATOPIC ECZEMA, FOR EXAMPLE:
- inflammatory lesions on the lips,
- eyelid oedema,
- more intense itching due to warmth and sweating,
- deterioration of the skin condition due to stress,
- genetic predisposition => if at least one of the parents suffers from atopic eczema or the family has a history of allergy, and especially of atopic diseases, which include not only atopic eczema but also bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis, the risk of atopic eczema in a child is considerably higher.
In the course of the disease, there may be periods when the typical symptoms of atopic eczema will not occur. Unfortunately, this does not usually mean that the disease has been cured for good.
CAUSES, SYMPTOMS AND THE LOCATION OF SKIN LESIONS IN ATOPIC ECZEMA.
Causes of the disease:
Healthy skin can be recognised by tightly fitting epidermal cells (the epidermis is the outer layer of the skin), forming a natural protective barrier against external factors. In people with atopic eczema, the structure and barrier function of the epidermis are impaired as a result of genetic factors and a chronic inflammatory condition. The reduced content of epidermal lipids brings about a decreased water binding capacity and increased transepidermal water loss, leading to dehydration and cracking of the epidermis. In such a situation, allergens or other substances may easily penetrate the skin, causing an inflammatory condition. Additionally, the deficiency of epidermal proteins (filaggrin) causes the skin barrier to become excessively permeable to water and allergens.
Symptoms of the disease:
Atopic eczema can take many forms, but the most typical symptoms of the disease are:
- persistent, severe itching
- skin dryness
- an eczematous rash
Location of the lesions:
In severe cases, the disease affects the entire face, scalp, the skin on the trunk and extensor sides of the extremities.