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Atopic dermatitis: causes, stages, symptoms and treatment

Atopic dermatitis is a skin non-contagious disease of an allergic nature. This is a chronic pathology, because its treatment is reduced to relief of exacerbations and prolongation of the period of remission. On the causes, symptoms, stages and methods of treatment of the disease, read on.

Atopic dermatitis is also called allergic, diffuse atopic dermatitis. Almost always, it develops in the presence of genetic predisposition.

If at least one of the close relatives has such a diagnosis, it is highly likely that the child will also manifest this disease. The risk of atopic dermatitis is increased with a tendency to pollinosis, allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma (atopic diseases).



Atopic dermatitis on the neck and chest, photo

Atopic dermatitis on the neck and chest, photo

The cause of atopic dermatitis is an allergic reaction to certain substances, or allergens. This may be pollen, food, cosmetics and household chemicals, pet hair, dust and other sources. Allergen can enter the body through contact, food, or through the respiratory system.

The reaction to food products is more often detected in early childhood, and atopic dermatitis caused by respiratory allergens, in most cases, is diagnosed in adolescence, adolescence, and in adults. A predisposing factor may be a disruption of the digestive system - dysbacteriosis, enzyme deficiency.

To provoke the development of atopy can:

  • nervous tension, stress;
  • hypodynamia;
  • eating foods containing nitrates, pesticides, artificial additives - dyes, preservatives, flavors;
  • drug resistant infectious diseases;
  • negative environmental factors - polluted water, air, especially in industrial cities.

Stages of development

There are three stages of development of atopic dermatitis:

  • infant, proceeding to the age of two;
  • children (from 2 to 12 years);
  • adult (after 12 years).

They differ in character of rashes. In children up to two years old, vesicles appear on the skin - these are bubbles that merge into moist spots, and then form dry crusts. Localization of lesions - arms, legs, face, neck, wrists, folds at the folds of the elbows and knees.

On the skin, with atopic dermatitis in the pediatric stage, there are cracking dry and scaly areas with markedly defined boundaries. Their peculiarity is that after healing, pigmented areas remain on the skin.

The adult period of atopy development is similar to that of children, but the lesions are even larger and often cover most of the body (see photo).

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis in adults, photos

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis

In atopic dermatitis, symptoms are recurrent in nature, arising in the event of repeated exposure to the allergen. The frequency of exacerbations largely depends on the season - in winter and autumn they are more often. The main symptom of the disease in adults is itching and dryness of the skin in certain areas, they can be accompanied by:

  • puffiness;
  • the formation of red spots, plaques that often coalesce;
  • wet erosion resulting from scratching;
  • ulcers appear in case of infection.

Common localization of atopic dermatitis - hands, neck, wrists, forehead, skin in the area of ​​the bending joints of the arms and legs, temples. Rashes and spots may appear and disappear repeatedly, that is, the disease is characterized by a wave-like course.

If the treatment is started on time and selected by a specialist, then lifelong remission may occur as early as adolescence. In other cases, relapses are felt throughout life.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis in adults

If atopic dermatitis becomes chronic, the characteristic signs are:

  • "Winter foot" - redness and peeling of the soles;
  • Morgan's syndrome - deepening of folds in the lower eyelids;
  • with atopic dermatitis on the face, thinning and fragility of eyelashes and eyebrows are also observed;
  • partial alopecia (hair loss) on the back of the head.

Atopic dermatitis in children requires immediate examination in order to identify the allergen and treatment. If the pathology is complicated by infection, then there is swelling on the skin, ulcers, body temperature rises.

atopic dermatitis on the head photo

atopic dermatitis on the head photo

In adults, atopy is often exacerbated in spring and summer, during the flowering of plants - at the same time, allergic rhinitis or asthma can be added to the skin lesion. To carry out the treatment yourself is strictly prohibited.

Diagnosis of dermatitis

Primary diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is carried out on the basis of symptoms, a conversation with a patient and a study of the history of his illness. To clarify the diagnosis, an allergist prescribes an analysis to determine the level of IgE immunoglobulin in the blood - if it is elevated, then a predisposition to allergic reactions is present.

Skin allergy tests are needed to identify exactly what causes atopy. Various substances are applied to the skin of the forearm in small quantities, and the allergen is determined by the appearance of redness or blistering.

Tactics of treatment of atopic dermatitis

treatment of atopic dermatitis

Drugs and general principles of treatment of atopic dermatitis in adults are as follows:

  • elimination of the allergen, compliance with a hypoallergenic diet;
  • taking antihistamines to relieve itching, swelling and redness (Tavegil, Claritin, Telfast, Suprastin, Diazolin);
  • hyposensitizers (sodium thiosulfate, calcium gluconate);
  • bowel cleansing and detoxification with sorbents (activated carbon, Lactofiltrum, Enterosgel);
  • antibacterial or antifungal creams for atopic dermatitis are indicated in the presence of a skin infection (Lorinden, Lincomycin ointment, Acriderm, Triderm, Pimafukort);
  • sedatives (Persen, motherwort tincture, Glycine, valerian);
  • antiviral drugs in the event of a virus infection (Famvir, Acyclovir);
  • corticosteroids to relieve inflammation are prescribed at the discretion of the doctor (Lokoid, Diprosalik, Sinaflan);
  • in case of malfunctioning of the pancreas, enzyme preparations (Creon, Pancreatin) are shown;
  • Eubiotics (Probifor, Bifidumbacterin, Linex) are taken for dysbacteriosis.

External topical corticosteroids are available in the form of creams, lotions, ointments, emulsions. The duration of their use usually does not exceed 1-2 weeks, and the cancellation should be gradual, with a decrease in dosage and combination with non-hormonal agents.

In the treatment of exacerbations, in addition to the above medicines, external preparations with zinc are used. This is an alternative to glucocorticosteroid ointments, however, zinc-containing agents also require caution, since their uncontrolled application to the skin can cause dermatosis of non-allergic etiology.

For removal of relapses, the drug Elidel is effective, which belongs to pimecrolimus derivatives. This is a relatively new tool with a high cost, but in comparison with hormonal drugs, it is safer in terms of complications and no less effective.

In severe forms of atopic dermatitis, the allergist prescribes cytotoxic agents (Fluorouracil, Cyclophosphamide, Hydroxyurea) and glucocorticosteroids (Prednisolone, Metipred) for oral administration. Treatment is more often carried out in the hospital under the strict supervision of a physician.

In periods without exacerbations, atopic dermatitis also requires treatment. The first is the use of therapeutic and hypoallergenic cosmetics with a vitamin content (Pantoderm, Radevit). It is important to control the condition of the digestive system, dieting, and to avoid the effects of severe stress.

Diet for atopic dermatitis

Nutrition for atopic dermatitis requires the elimination of many products, and is different for children of different ages and adults.

Diet for atopic dermatitis for adults is based on the principle of the absence of products that can cause an allergic reaction. However, the diet should be complete and varied. Usually, people suffering from this disease since childhood know that they cannot be eaten. Products-allergens should not be reduced in quantity, but completely excluded.

Provocateurs of relapse may be:

  • fatty fish and meat;
  • milk products;
  • sausage and smoked meats;
  • chicken eggs;
  • pickles, pickles;
  • honey, chocolate and other sweets;
  • fast food;
  • wine;
  • nuts;
  • orange and red fruits;
  • caviar;
  • canned foods.

Food containing unsaturated fatty acids is beneficial, for allergic people it is primarily cold-pressed vegetable oils - linseed, olive and others. It is necessary to use low-fat fermented milk products.


The main risk of developing complications of atopic dermatitis is associated with constant scratching of spots and redness. At the same time, the integrity of the epidermis is violated, its barrier protection and immunity are reduced, which is fraught with the development of infection.

Among bacterial the most common is pyoderma, which is manifested by purulent rashes and the subsequent formation of dry crusts on the skin. A fungal infection may also be added, its example being oral thrush in children.

Another complication is viral herpes infection, in which fluid bubbles (vesicles) form on the skin. Often affected area of ​​the face (nose, lips, cheeks, ears, eyelids) and mucous membranes (oral cavity, external genitals, throat, conjunctiva).

Prevention of atopic dermatitis

Primary prevention of atopic dermatitis helps to prevent its occurrence. To this end, while still pregnant, a woman should follow a healthy hypoallergenic diet, try not to contact with allergens and not take medications unnecessarily.

After giving birth, it is important to carefully consider the rules of feeding and introduction of complementary foods.

Secondary prophylaxis is aimed at preventing relapses and achieving sustained remission in a diagnosed disease. This includes diet, the fulfillment of all the doctor's instructions, a healthy lifestyle, the elimination of emotional distress, stress, contact with household chemicals and other sources of allergens.

2016-11-04 05:49:04
I really liked the drug, so I decided to write a review. My child is only 9 months old, and the skin on the legs began to blush and peel off. The kid constantly cried, apparently from a strong itch. At the reception at the doctor we were advised Losterin. There is in the form of shampoo, shower gel and cream. In our case, it was better to use the gel, because the child is small, kicking, crawling and the cream may not be completely absorbed. The doctor explained to me that the gel contains natural ingredients, without additives and fragrances. It does not contain alkali, as with ordinary shower gels, so the drug acts on the baby’s skin soothingly and relieves symptoms. And indeed, Losterin helped us a lot! Good remedy!
2016-11-27 09:35:20
Sofia, how long can losterin be used? I am glad that the treatment helped you)) We would have been suffering for more than a year now (((
2017-02-14 10:43:33
In fact, one of the few creams that works and helps get rid of this filth, dermatitis. Urelia - the French are great, that came up with such a cream. Recommend.
2017-02-19 11:48:09
Creams help well, I agree, but they do not remove the cause of atopic dermatitis, still sits inside, the body reacts to something with such rashes, which means that the allergen must be removed from the inside. I completely agreed with the doctor when he offered to drink an enterosorbent, for example, enterosgel, for a week of taking my spots have decreased very significantly in size, let's see what will be by the end of the treatment.
2017-03-15 06:29:15
Dasha, how are you doing? Did your enterosorbent help you?
2017-03-16 10:13:36
Polina, everything is fine, the spots have completely disappeared from me, so I think the doctor prescribed the correct treatment for me. The main thing before eating enterosgel is to take, and be sure to take a course, as the doctor will prescribe.

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