Around 30% of the global population suffer from it. The first signs of atopic eczema appear in babies in the first months of their lives. It is most common in children. By the age of ten, atopic dermatitis usually disappears, but sometimes this chronic and inflammatory skin disease can last into adulthood.
What does atopic eczema look like?
Atopic eczema occurs most commonly in babies. Red, sometimes oozing blisters appear on very dry skin, which leads those affected to scratch constantly. This leads to the eczema worsening.
The extent of the problem varies from person to person – it can occur on the forehead, eyebrows, neck, torso and even hands and feet, especially the creases of the knees and elbows. If you want to know how to identify atopic eczema in babies safely, go to the doctor or a dermatologist as soon as the first symptoms occur. Atopic eczema requires long-term care.
The sufferer does not have unpleasant itchy blisters all the time; there are two alternating stages of the disease – the dormant (latent) period and the flare-ups, when the condition worsens. These can be the result of stress or cool, dry weather. That is why summer warmth and damp weather can relieve atopic skin.
Causes of atopic eczema
This disease is not contagious but is often caused by a genetic predisposition to allergic reactions such as asthma, hay fever or conjunctivitis.
- Atopic dermatitis in children occurs in around 50% of those with at least one allergic parent.
- If both parents are allergic, the likelihood increases to 80%.
Alongside heredity, atopic eczema is also affected by the environment. Cities with high levels of pollution contribute to dermatitis.
A characteristic of atopic skin is the poor protective function of the skin. The barrier does not protect the skin sufficiently, making it sensitive (fragile). For this reason as well, something as normal as a bath can be an unpleasant experience for people with atopic issues. Not just while bathing, but during everyday activities, allergens can get into the skin, causing inflammation and itchy skin. This leads to repetitive scratching and the skin barrier becoming disturbed.
What helps atopic eczema
While it is not possible to cure atopic eczema completely, there are several options to alleviate symptoms, or extend the latent period. This includes treatments with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, seaside visits, following basic rules for people with atopic skin and, of course, a daily skincare routine.
Cosmetics for atopic skin and correct skincare
Atopic skin is primarily very dry and then itchy. It is therefore important to ensure it is hydrated, both during a flare-up and during a latency period, which can extend this time. Try a moisturising cream or ointment for atopic eczema, which are also suitable for children, and ensure the skin is softened and moisturised. Opt for active ingredients such as omega-6 fatty acids and licochalcone A, to keep the skin flexible and supple.
Bathing Rules for Atopic Skin
- The temperature of your bath water should be no higher than 33 °C.
- The ideal length of your bath should be 3 to 5 minutes.
- Use soap-free products for your bath, ideally cosmetics especially for atopic skin, which has a physiological pH. Opt for cleansing oils and gels for fragile skin.
- Do not use a sponge or gloves that irritate the skin.
- After the bath, rinse yourself well and dry your skin without rubbing.
- Immediately after the bath, apply body lotion for atopic eczema and moisturise your face with atopic dermatitis face cream.
The best cosmetics for atopic eczema
- AvèneXeraCalm A.D.Lipid - Replenishing Cream for Dry and Atopic Skin 200 ml
- BiodermaAtoderm Intensive BaumeIntense Soothing Balm For Very Dry Sensitive And Atopic Skin 200 ml
- EucerinAtopiControlShower And Bath Oil For Dry And Itchy Skin 400 ml
- La Roche-PosayLipikar LaitRelipidating Body Cream for Dry Skin 400 ml
Atopic eczema treatment
One option for getting rid of atopic dermatitis at least partially is corticosteroids, which are prescribed by a doctor. Corticosteroids treat skin inflammation but should only be prescribed in the short term for acute inflammation.
Topical immunosuppressants, which suppress the undesired immune response at the affected site, are gentler than corticosteroids. In recent years, scientists have been developing new medication to help treat atopic eczema in children and adults.
Natural atopic eczema treatment
To fight atopic eczema the natural way, mud baths, bran compresses, Dead Sea salt, hemp oil or peat are recommended. Seaside retreats and following the basic rules in everyday life are also recommended.
Other tips for getting rid of atopic eczema
Seawater has a beneficial effect on the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. A trip to the seaside should ideally last for two weeks, so that the atopic skin becomes accustomed to the seawater. During your trip you should remember more than ever to protect yourself against the sun. For instance, a children’s sun lotion for atopic eczema, which is as gentle as possible, will help.
Basic rules for atopic skin:
- Trim your nails. Long nails encourage scratching and can also increase the chance of infection.
- Avoid dust and mites. They can be found in carpets, mattresses and curtains. Air regularly.
- Do not use synthetic fabrics or sheets – the skin sweats and itches. Natural materials such as cotton are a better option.
- Use delicate washing powders and avoid softener.
- Do not go out in direct sun between 11 am and 4 pm. Before going out into the sun, use a high SPF product.
- Limit dairy products, nuts and seafood. They can trigger flare-ups.
- Avoid cigarette and cigar smoke and alcohol.
- Get enough sleep and try to avoid stress.
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