Eczema – Atopic Dermatitis
14 Jan 2022
Eczema or else known as Atopic Dermatitis is a common clinical skin condition which equally affects both genders, can occur at any age and it is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 children are affected. Eczema is described by itchy, dry, flaky, red skin and can develop on any part of the body, with many cases being recorded at the creases of joints (elbows, knees, wrists/hands).
Eczema develops and can be affected by environmental and hereditary factors. The surrounding environment (e. g heat) and exposure to chemicals (e. g soaps and detergents) as well as preference to specific type of materials (e. g wool) are common environmental/life-style factors. Atopic eczema is moreover an inherited condition, caused be an alteration in a specific gene which contributes to the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier and is passed on from parents to children. A flare-up can appear, thus self-care (avoidance of irritants mainly) and controlling stress-levels are essential as stress can make make it worse.
Atopic dermatitis is not a curable condition although it can be monitored and controlled in many ways and patients affected can lead a normal life. A consultant dermatologist proposes the most beneficial treatment depending on the severity of the condition. The most common type of treatment is emollient therapy and soap free products to wash, as it is highly important to constantly moisturize the skin. Also, steroid creams and ointments (weak or strong) are usually administered depending on the severity of the condition and the area being treated.
Other treatment options include light therapy (UVb), short course of oral steroids, immunosuppressant tablets such as ciclosporin, methotrexate, azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil for more severe cases. A relatively new treatment for moderate to severe cases is Dupilumab. FDA has approved its use for patients over 6 years old as this is a type of biologic medication.