Eczema is a term used to describe a broad range of skin conditions characterized by itchy and inflamed patches of skin. Eczema frequently makes its first appearance early in life, showing up in infants or toddlers, often disappearing when the person reaches adulthood. The most common form or eczema is called “atopic dermatitis.”

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, inflamed skin which can become an uncomfortable, visible rash. AD typically begins in infants and can be long-lasting. During a flareup, the skin becomes irritated, increasing the blood flow to the area is then followed by the appearance of an itchy, red rash. The tendency is to scratch the skin to relieve the uncomfortable itchy sensation. While scratching very temporarily relieves the itching, it can lead to skin infections and complications.

Children and Eczema

Many children develop eczema – about 13 percent of all children under 18. The first appearance is often “cradle cap,” or scaly skin on a baby’s scalp. Atopic dermatitis is common in children, typically affecting children ages six month to five years of age. Parents who have children with eczema can get help in treating the condition at Piedmont Plastic Surgery and Dermatology. We are very familiar with this condition and can provide various treatments so you child is more comfortable.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?

The exact cause of AD is unknown, but it is not contagious. Flareups of AD can be caused by many factors, both internal and external including:

  • Sweating
  • Excessively hot showers or baths
  • Exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Soaps or detergents
  • Certain types of fibers in fabric
  • Allergens
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Stress

How is Atopic Dermatitis Treated?

The best way to protect your skin from flareups of AD is to keep the moisture barrier healthy. This means applying a non-irritating moisturizer after you bathe. Additional treatments for atopic dermatitis include over-the-counter creams, prescription medication, or making changes to your lifestyle. Our dermatologist can work with you to create a plan to ward off eczema breakouts, treat it quickly when flareups occur, and understand your triggers for AD for a healthier, happier life experience.