Nobody wants to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. But for the 30 million Americans who suffer from eczema, discomfort is the norm. It often starts with an itchy, red patch of scaly skin that won’t go away. As the disease progresses, some patients experience extensive rashes that ooze and swell, while others develop open, weeping sores. Whether your case of eczema is mild or severe, we understand that living with it is an ongoing challenge.
Many people who’ve been diagnosed with eczema have found ways to successfully manage their condition, but if you’ve been having a hard time keeping your symptoms under control, it’s possible you may have atopic dermatitis. While many doctors often use the two terms interchangeably, atopic dermatitis is a specific, severe type of eczema, and therefore requires its own diagnosis and treatment plan.
Eczema vs atopic dermatitis
Eczema is a term used to describe several types of inflammatory skin conditions, known as dermatitis. Some of these conditions are temporary, like contact dermatitis, while some are confined to a specific part of the body, like hand dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is a common, chronic variety of eczema that is extremely itchy and can appear anywhere on the body.
The National Eczema Association estimates that about 10% of people worldwide have atopic dermatitis, which is usually first diagnosed in childhood. While nobody knows exactly what causes it, atopic dermatitis has been linked to other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever, and may be influenced by genetics. Having atopic dermatitis also places you at a higher risk of developing other serious conditions such as staph infections, herpes, and cataracts.
Triggers of atopic dermatitis
Unlike less severe forms of eczema, atopic dermatitis is both persistent and recurring. Even if you’re able to get your symptoms under control temporarily, they’ll eventually flare up again. Flare-ups can be caused by a number of different factors, including temperature changes, emotional stress, allergic reactions, and hormones. Paying attention to the specific causes of your flare-ups can sometimes help you learn to manage your condition more effectively.
How to treat atopic dermatitis
There are a number of treatments available for atopic dermatitis, and they can vary depending on the location and severity of your rash. Most mild cases can be treated with moisturizers, oatmeal baths, and a proper skin care routine. For persistent flare-ups that don’t respond to moisturizers, topical corticosteroids can provide relief. However, these medications cannot be used for an extended period of time, due to negative side effects and built-up resistance to the drug. One of the most important considerations for treatment of atopic dermatitis and other forms of eczema is that you’re treating the right condition. And, truthfully, self-diagnosis often results in wasted efforts at best, and exacerbation of the condition at worst.
Let California Dermatology & Clinical Research Institute provide a proper diagnosis
If you suspect your itchy, swollen skin is a symptom of atopic dermatitis or eczema, the California Dermatology and Clinical Research Institute can help. We have over 20 years of experience treating a wide range of dermatologic conditions, including atopic dermatitis and other forms of eczema. With a thorough examination and a formal diagnosis, you’ll be able to pursue new and effective methods of treatment to get your atopic dermatitis under control.
Call our office today at (760) 203-3839 and start feeling comfortable in your own skin.