Eczema is a group of skin conditions wherein atopic dermatitis forms one of the common types of eczema. There are over thirty generic classifications of eczema that exhibit some form of skin inflammation as the primary symptom. This is one of the reasons why medical professionals use the terms interchangeably in many cases.
However, when it comes to treating the skin disorder, one must clearly understand the common types of eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis
- Contact dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis
- Nummular dermatitis
- Perioral dermatitis
- Asteatotic dermatitis
These types of eczema all exhibit common symptoms related to inflammation. However, atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that requires constant symptoms management with varying levels of severity, thus distinguishing it from the other common types of eczema.
How atopic dermatitis differs from other forms of eczema
One of the most common and severe forms of eczema, Atopic dermatitis affects more than 18 million people in the country every year. The condition usually develops in the first six months after birth and has the ability to gradually develop over years without any alarming indicators of a skin condition. There is no one known cause of atopic dermatitis. Doctors suggest that a series of gene mutations that can be passed down from one generation to the other resulting in atopic dermatitis. However, there are a number of triggers that can contribute to the chronic condition. Among the common symptoms of itching, redness, and dry skin due to inflammation, a person suffering from atopic dermatitis will additionally experience discomfort due to weepy sores. Open and crusty weepy sores that appear during a flare-up indicate the person is suffering from atopic dermatitis.
Treatment of atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic and persistent condition which is why doctors recommend a combination of treatments to manage the symptoms. Topical medications, oral medications, and therapies to treat the skin condition often include the following:
1. Topical medications
Inflammation of the skin can cause prolonged discomfort due to the chronic nature of the skin disorder which is why topical medications are recommended to counter inflammation more efficiently. Prescription steroids including corticosteroid creams and calcineurin inhibitors help manage flare-ups. One must moisturize thoroughly before application and avoid frequent exposure to sunlight during the course of treatment. Antibiotic creams are also recommended to fight bacterial infections that can affect the open cracks and sores.
Skin therapies for atopic dermatitis
2. Wet bandages
Widespread lesions due to atopic dermatitis can be managed better with topical wet bandages wrapped around the affected area. This treatment helps manage a bigger area of the skin disorder faster to counter the inflammation or an infection. One can visit the hospital for regular dressing.
3. Light therapy
A severe case of atopic dermatitis can result in frequent flare-ups. Topical remedies won’t be enough in such cases and the doctor will recommend light therapy (exposure to controlled amounts of sunlight) for managing the symptoms. Phototherapy, artificial ultraviolet A (UVA), and narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) are among the suggested forms of light therapy manage the flare-ups. Note that these treatments are not recommended for children and infants due to high exposure levels and long term side effects.