Atopic eczema is a chronic, itchy skin condition which is very common in children but may occur at any age. It is also known as Eczema. ‘Atopic tendency’ means they may develop any or all of three closely linked conditions; Atopic eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis (sneezing + running of nose). Some common irritants causing eczema are soap, harsh clothing detergents, wool against the skin, cosmetics and perfumes, prescribed and over-the-counter treatment creams and dusty environments.
Other reasons are dry skin, winter, stress, very hot or very cold water bath, lengthy bath, allergies to house dust mite or pollens, diet and infection. The patient will notice dry, thickened and itchy red skin with water filled vesicles (small blisters) which rupture on rubbing and some cracks on folds of the skin (elbows and wrists, backs of knees and around the neck). Typically, inflamed areas of skin tend to flare up from time to time and then tend to settle down. In children, the rash will appear on the cheeks and outer parts of hands and legs where as in adults, on the inner part of hands and legs.
Patients can avoid this by avoiding irritants to the skin and other causes (triggers) wherever possible, regular application of moisturizers (emollients) will help to prevent inflammation. Steroid creams and ointments (topical steroids) are mainly used when inflammation flares up.
Dr. Rajshri Ritesh Gachkal
Dermatologist and cosmetologist
Bahrain Specialist Hospital Clinics – West Riffa