Atopic Dermatitis

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis comes under a category of chronic skin disorders. Atopic dermatitis is a type of allergic hypersensitivity. In this disease skin may become supersensitive to many irritants. Some studies have suggested that atopic dermatitis may be associated with asthma or hay fever.

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A person can develop atopic dermatitis at any age but most commonly infants and young children are affected.

When the condition of the skin becomes worse it is called period of flare up. This is followed by period of remission.In this period the skin clears up completely.

Basics:
The largest organ of the body is skin. The color of the skin is created by special cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin.
The skin performs various functions such as:
• Protection from microbes and elements.
• Regulation of body temperature.
• It facilitates the sensation of touch, heat and cold.
Skin has three layers:

• The epidermis:
It is the outermost layer of skin. It acts as a waterproof barrier and is responsible for our skin tone.

• The dermis:
It lies beneath the epidermis containing connective tissue,hair follicles,and sweat glands.

• Hypodermis:
It is the deeper subcutaneous tissue and is made up of fat and connective tissue.

What causes Atopic Dermatitis?

The exact cause is not known. Atopic dermatitis may develop as a result of hereditary or environmental factors or hypersensitivity reaction. If the skin reacts hypersensitively it results in inflammation called dermatitis.

Triggers that makes condition worse include:
• A family history of allergic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, or eczema.
• Dryness and lack of moisture after bathing.
• Stress.
• Changes in temperature.
• Synthetic clothing, soaps or detergents,cosmetics,dust etc causes irritation in skin.Different individuals are sensitive to different products.

Signs and Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

• Dry, itchy and red skin.
• Face, hands and folds of the skin such as bend of the knees, underarms etc. are most commonly affected.
• Inflammation worsens after rubbing and scratching.
• Clear fluid oozes on itching resulting in crusts and scale formation.
• Lichenification: constant rubbing and scratching causes thick and rubbery skin.

How Atopic Dermatitis is diagnosed?

• Diagnosis is made on basis of appearance of skin.
• History of the patient and family history.
• A skin biopsy may be required.

Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

• Corticosteroid creams and ointments are applied locally.
• In case of itching and allergies oral administration of antihistamines.
• Antibiotics can be used in the form of oral pills or in the form of ointments to apply on the affected part.
• Ultraviolet A or B light waves are used, this process is called phototherapy.

What are the differential diagnoses for Atopic Dermatitis?

• Contact Dermatitis
• Psoriasis
• Mycosis
• Mollusca contagiosa with dermatitis
• Scabies
• Seborrheic Dermatitis
• Tinea Corporis

What are the prognosis for Atopic Dermatitis?

Skin completely clears in children.Skin may remain dry.There may be possibility of flare up.

What are the complications of Atopic Dermatitis?

• Secondary infection from bacteria,fungus,virus.
• Scar formation.

Homeopathic treatment for Atopic Dermatitis

Antimonium crudum 
• Eczema on face, genital organs: extremities, neck, chest and back.
• Yellow crusted eruptions, painful to touch and easily detached; green serous pus oozes.
• Violent itching that becomes worse from application of poultices, bathing, working in water,alcohol and in the sun.
• Eczema appears in individuals who are gluttons and frequently suffer from gastric troubles.

Graphites
• Eczema on folds of the skin, vertex, scalp, ears, extremities, around anus.
• Formation of dirty crust which oozes, foul acrid gluey discharge.
• Eruptions bleed easily on scratching. They are worse from heat and they are better by cold.
• Suited to fat, blonde women with scanty menses.

Mercurius solubilis
• Suited in moist eczema.
• Eruptions are humid with thick yellow discharge.
• Itching is worse by warmth of bed, with pain from scratching and tendency to bleed.
• Excessive odor viscid perspiration, worse at night.
• Complaints increase with sweat and rest; all associated with a great deal of weariness and prostration.

Mezereum
• Eczema affects the parts having less fat, especially neck and back.
• There is intolerable itching,
• Vesicles are full of serous exudations.
• Honey like crust above mouth and cheeks, worse from undressing.
• Eruptions ulcerate and form thick scabs under which purulent matter exudes.
• There is marked thirst and scrofulous tendency.

Psorinum
• Eczematous eruption appears after severe exertion,accompanied by sensation of tension and swelling.
• Eczema behind ears, on scalp and in bends of elbows and armpits,
• Humid eruption on face and raw red oozing, scabs around ears.
• There is offensive discharge from eczema around ears.
• Eruptions disappear during summer but reappears in cold weather.

Rhus toxicodendron 
• Eczema is more around the genitals.
• Eruptions alternate with dysentery.
• The skin is sensitive to cold air.
• Itching is worse in the hairy parts.
• Burning eczematous eruptions with tendency to scale formation.
• Moist eruptions on head begin with small yellow vesicles with red areola, forming thick horny crusts and scabs which eat off the hair.

How to manage Atopic Dermatitis?

Management:

• Try bathing with cold water.
• Immediately after bathing moisturize the skin to prevent dryness.
• Use mild soap and moisturizers.
• Avoid scratching.
• Wear soothing cotton clothing.
• Avoid exposure to dust, cigarette smoke, pollens, etc.

Diet:
• If you are sensitive to dairy products avoid consuming it.
• Avoid preservative containing food, fried food, egg, fish and meat.
• Avoid citrus food, alcohol and spicy food.

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