Atopic eczema is characterized by a distinct pattern of skin inflammation that triggers the symptoms. Individuals who have this type of eczema face a higher risk for ending up with other atopic conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
Indications of atopic eczema
- Dry skin
- Areas of skin become inflamed and reddened. The typically affected areas are close to the skin creases such as the wrists, front of the elbows, back of the knee and around the neck. Nevertheless, any area can still be affected. Among infants, the face is usually affected.
- Itchiness of the inflamed skin can occur. If the area is scratched, it causes the skin patches to thicken.
- The inflamed skin can sometimes become blistered and weep fluid.
- Oftentimes, infection develops on the inflamed skin.
In most instances, the inflamed skin usually flare-up every now and then and later settle. The severity and length of the flare-ups varies from one individual to another and from time to time.
- In mild cases, the flare-ups might trigger 1-2 small-sized patches of inflammation usually in front of the elbows or wrist and behind the knees.
- In severe instances, the flare-ups can persist for many weeks or longer and covers a wider area.
What are the possible causes?
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown. The lipid barrier of the skin is usually diminished among those with the condition. This increases water loss and tendency to have dry skin. In addition, some of the cells of the immune system release chemicals beneath the skin surface which triggers inflammation. Genetic factors might play a role in the condition.
Atopic eczema is becoming more prevalent. There are certain factors that might play a role such as the following:
- Climate changes
- Allergy to pollen or dust mites
There might be a combination of these factors among those who are genetically susceptible to develop eczema. This results to the drying effect on the skin while the immune system reacts and causes skin inflammation.