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plen 01506 333 129 Mon - Sat: 8.30 - 17.00
Broom House, Quarrywood Court, Livingston EH54 6AX

Atopic Dermatitis (AD)

Atopowe Zapalenie Skóry

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is considered a disease of the 21st century. Only 100 years ago, only 1% of people were affected by AD symptoms. Today, doctors estimate that the disease affects up to 30% of the children’s population. Although AD has a genetic basis, environmental pollution and lifestyle contribute to the increase in morbidity: smog, drying of the air, air conditioning, central heating, excessive use of household chemicals and… stress. Yes, atopic dermatitis is considered a psychosomatic disease, so treatment is not easy and requires multidirectional actions. First of all, you should go to a dermatologist, but the treatment itself will not bring a satisfactory improvement if the rest of the life is neglected.

What is atopy anyway?

Simply put, atopy is an excessive reaction of the body to allergens. Symptoms may occur from the digestive and respiratory systems, as well as from the skin and eyes. Atopy can manifest itself asthma, hay fever, food allergies and atopicdermatitis or conjunctivitis. Allergens are most often pollen, animal hair, mites and food allergens.

However, atopic dermatitis at the beginning is only a skin problem, allergies may join later.

What are the causes and what does atopic dermatitis look like?
AD has a genetic basis, but environmental factors also contribute to the development of the disease. If someone in the family suffers from AD, there is a good chance that future generations will also be affected. AD is originally a skin disease and results from the fact that the baby’s skin is immatureand can not maintain proper hydration. Therefore, it is prone to dryness and irritation. The degree of coping with drynessis genetically determined. Some children will be more prone to dryness, others less. Dry skin is the cause of skin inflammation in children with AD.

It should be remembered that AD is not an allergic disease at the beginning. Over time, allergies may or may not join in, which may provoke skin symptoms or contribute to their persistence.

Atopic dermatitis – symptoms:

  • Redness and dryness of the skin,
  • Itch,
  • Peeling of the epidermis,
  • Recurrent bacterial infections,
  • Keratosis follicle, the so-called ichthyosis.

Atopowe Zapalenie Skóry

The course of the disease

In atopic dermatitis, 3 phases of the disease are distinguished, which, however, do not have to follow each other

  1. Infancy – symptoms appear up to 2 years of age and most often include the skin of the face, head, arms, legs and torso;
  2. Childhood – symptoms appear between 3 and 12 years of age. Lesions include elbow, popliteal, wrist and neck folds;
  3. Teenage and adult period – changes can appear on the entire surface of the body.

To receive a positive diagnosis, that is, for the doctor to confirm atopic inflammation, there must be 3 greater criteria. A symptom that always occurs with AD is itching. Minor criteria may or may not be present. The diagnosis is clinical, that is, the doctor identifies the disease based on the symptoms. For this you do not need specialized research. Allergy tests can be done later to determine if there are allergens that can affect the course of AD, but they are not necessary for the diagnosis itself. Co more, often in patients with AD allergy tests give negative results.

Major criteria:

  • Itching
  • Chronic and recurrent course of the disease
  • Characteristic location of skin lesions
  • Atopy in the patient or other family members

Minor criteria:

  • Dry skin
  • Ichthyosis
  • Positive skin prick tests
  • Elevated serum IgE
  • Early onset of the disease
  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Recurrent conjunctivitis
  • Itching of the skin after physical exertion (sweating)
  • Food intolerance
  • Wool intolerance
  • Cataract
  • White dandruff
  • Exacerbation of symptoms after stressful situations
  • White dermographism – vascular and motor reaction of the skin
  • Thickening of the folds on the neck
  • Additional skin fold below the lower eyelid
  • Nipple eczema

Atopic dermatitis — treatment

Treatment of atopic dermatitis is symptomatic and causal. First of all, it consists in proper care, which aims to prevent dryness of the skin. If the use of moisturisers does not control the symptoms sufficiently, local anti-inflammatory drugs are used, and sometimes phototherapy or even general medications. Regardless of the age of the patient, first of all, you need to remember to properly lubricate the skin and wear clothes that do not cause irritation.

Is it possible to completely cure AD?

If a patient is diagnosed with AD, it means that the disease will accompany him throughout his life. But nagging symptoms do not have to be present all the time. The skin of people with AD is extremely sensitive and will require a more caring approach throughout life. Patients with AD have periods of seemingly healthy skin in their lives and periods in which symptoms worsen. By taking appropriate action – starting with a visit to a dermatologist – you can significantly alleviate the symptoms or even eliminate them altogether.


In the treatment of atopic dermatitis, the most important thing is to contact a dermatologist. The specialist will make the appropriate diagnosis, order the necessary examinations if necessary and select the optimal treatment. To minimise the symptoms of AD and increase the quality of life, it is necessary to act in many directions.

If you suspect atopic dermatitis in yourself or your child, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. Timely measures will prevent the development of the disease, alleviate unpleasant symptoms and increase the comfort of life.

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