What is atopic dermatitis / eczema?
Atopic dermatitis is a very common skin condition due to skin inflammation. It may start at any age but the onset is often in childhood. 1 in every 5 children in the US is affected by eczema at some stage. It may also start later in life in people who did not have AE as a child. The term ‘atopic’ is used to describe a group of conditions, which include asthma, eczema and hay-fever and food allergy. These conditions are all linked by an increased activity of the allergy side of the body’s immune system.
What causes atopic dermatitis / eczema?
Atopic dermatitis / eczema is a complex condition and a number of factors appear important for its development including patient susceptibility and environmental factors. Patients typically have alterations in their skin barrier, and overly reactive inflammatory and allergy responses. Environmental factors include contact with soaps, detergents and any other chemicals applied to the skin, exposure to allergens, and infection with certain bacteria and viruses. A tendency to atopic conditions often runs in families (see below) and is part of your genes.