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General Information: Atopic Dermatitis - inflammation of skin.

Two of the most common types of dermatitis are Atopic Dermatitis and Contact Dermatitis.

Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic" dermatitis is a particular type of skin inflammation that is marked by dryness, associated itching, and a characteristic pattern of rash on the body. The condition is fairly common, and may occur in as many as 5% of children.

The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown. In many patients, there is a family history of allergic conditions, such as hives, hay fever, asthma or atopic dermatitis itself. Rarely, atopic dermatitis in infants may be related to food sensitivity, such as sensitivity to milk, but this is often difficult to determine and manage. In the majority of cases, however, no allergic factors can be found.

Atopic dermatitis usually starts in infancy from the ages of 2 to 6 months. The skin is dry and the rash is quite itchy, so infants may be restless and rub against the sheets, or scratch if able. The rash may involve the face or it may cover a large part of the body. As the child gets older, the rash may become more localized. In early childhood, the rash is commonly on the legs, feet, hands and arms. As a person becomes older, the rash may be limited to the bend of the elbows, knees, on the back of the hands, feet, and on the neck and face. As the rash becomes more established, the dry itchy skin may become thickened, leathery and sometimes darker in coloration. The more the person scratches, the worse the rash is and the thicker the skin gets. Most children with atopic dermatitis outgrow the condition before school age; some continue to have problems as an adolescent or even as an adult.

Many things may affect the severity of the condition. All patients have sensitive and dry skin. Many will find that during the winter months when the humidity is very low, the dryness and itchiness will be worse. On the other hand, some people are easily irritated by sweat and will find that they have more problems during the summer months. Most patients note an increase in itching at times when there are sudden changes in temperature. Other irritants easily affect the skin of a patient with atopic dermatitis. Use of harsh soaps and detergents and exposure to wool are common problems. Atopic dermatitis can be exacerbated by bacteria, yeast, or viruses. This is called "secondary infection”.

Bacterial secondary infection is the most common, and often occurs as the result of scratching. The rash gets very red with pus-filled pimples and scabs. If this occurs, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to control the infection. A more serious complication can be caused by certain viruses. The "cold sore" virus (herpes simplex) may cause a severe rash. If this is suspected, immediately contact your doctor. Molluscum is another virus that tends to spread rapidly in patients with atopic dermatitis.

Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis - Click Here

Contact Dermatitis - Click Here

ADSCI - Advanced Dermatology Skin Cancer Institute Linage Dermatology Linage Skin Care