Atopic dermatitis – Causes, symptoms, home remedies, and food advice

Atopic dermatitis – Causes, symptoms, home remedies, and food advice

Atopic dermatitis is a common form of eczema that affects more than 20 percent of children in the United States. This inflammatory condition is not contagious and may persist into adolescence and adulthood. The chronic skin disorder is characterized by multiple patches of red, inflamed skin accompanied by intense itching and irritation. The symptoms recede and erupt, with multiple incidences of high disease activity, referred to as flares, alternating with brief periods of relief called remissions. Moisturizing the skin regularly is imperative as there is no total cure for this aggravating condition.

Causes
The cause of atopic dermatitis is not clear, however, the following could trigger its symptoms.

  • Changes in the protective layer of the skin cause it to lose moisture. Thus the skin becomes dry, leading to inflammation and irritation.
  • This form of eczema can also be related to a gene variation that affects the skin’s capability to remain hydrated and moist. Thus the skin becomes prone to this condition
  • Overactive immune system.
  • Consistent exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Chemical compounds and special fragrances found in skin products can trigger atopic dermatitis
  • Air pollutants
  • Extremely hot or cold weather triggers the symptoms.
  • Food allergies may trigger atopic dermatitis.

Symptoms
The symptoms of atopic dermatitis vary from one individual to another. These include;

  • Dry skin
  • Severe Itching, especially at night
  • Thick, cracked, and scaly skin
  • Raw, sensitive, and inflamed skin due to scratching
  • Small, raised leaky bumps with crust
  • Red to brownish-grey patches, that form on the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees,
  • Irritable and inflamed patches on the face and scalp in infants

Treatment options
Topical steroids and hydrocortisone creams are the first-line of treatment when moisturizing does not relieve symptoms of Atopic dermatitis. Topical corticosteroids need to be applied twice every day but can be tapered once to twice weekly to prevent instant flares.

The dermatologist may recommend light therapy and wet wrap therapy for severe and persistent cases. Vaccines, antibodies, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and, interleukins can also help block the inflammation that leads to itching.

Home remedies
Simple and easy-to-use home remedies can reduce the dryness and intense itching caused by this eczema. These are;

  • Brief lukewarm showers with gentle soaps.
  • Small and frequent baths can help remove the dead skin cells, allergens, and irritants from the skin.
  • Pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
  • It is best to wear, cotton loose-fitting garments.
  • Stay away from things that can have a detrimental effect on the skin such as harsh soaps with fragrances and detergents
  • Use virgin coconut oil which has not undergone any chemical refining, bleaching, or deodorizing.
  • Apply sunflower seed oil as it reduces the severity of symptoms of atopic dermatitis
  • Use aloe vera gel and the extract of calendula
  • Avoid exposure to dust and pollen
  • Reduce exposure to sweat and stress.

Diet advice
Many foods can help soothe eczema symptoms and reduce skin rash and other allergic reactions. However, eating certain foods can trigger a red, bumpy rash, and itching. It is important to eliminate foods from the diet that make skin rashes worse.

Foods to avoid

  • Peanuts, green apples, celery, hazelnuts, carrots, and pears.
  • Tree nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachio, cashew, pecans
  • Cow’s milk increases the risk of this condition developing in children
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Seafood such as shellfish, shrimp

Beneficial Foods

  • Certain foods can help soothe skin rash, inflammation, and itching
  • Asparagus, raw onion, ginger, garlic, and pineapple are high in prebiotics Vitamin B and antioxidants.
  • Apple cider vinegar can reduce the itching caused by skin rashes
  • Detoxifying plants such as dandelion greens are full of fiber, antioxidants, prebiotics vitamin A, iron, Vitamin B, and calcium and should be included in your diet.
  • Herbs such as aloe vera and lavender are known to have a calming effect.

Although children are most prone to developing this disease most outgrow the symptoms. The condition can be controlled by making healthy lifestyle changes and anti-inflammatory medicines. Moisturizing the skin regularly can relieve the rash and itching caused by Atopic dermatitis. Research suggests that inflammation triggers the sensation of itching that leads to scratching and an increased risk for bacterial infection. Despite trying home remedies if you or your child continues to experience symptoms then consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.