Atopic Dermatitis

Treatments for itchy skin

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema known as the “itch that rashes.” Between 10-20% of people in the world are affected and, in most cases, it develops very early in life.

In young children, atopic dermatitis presents with itchy, red, scaling patches on the scalp and on the cheeks. By adolescence, eczema tends to move to the inner arms and the back of the knees, but can also affect other areas of the body. In adulthood, atopic dermatitis looks like dry, thickened, scaly skin.

While the cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, several factors are known to trigger or make it worse. In some children, for example, flares of eczema can occur after ingestion of specific foods. Other possible triggers include irritating soaps or detergents, wool clothing, jewelry and perfume. Atopic dermatitis tends to occur in people who are also prone to asthma and hay fever.


Managing Atopic Dermatitis

Patients with atopic dermatitis should adhere to the following “gentle skin care” guidelines:

  • Showering should be less than 10 minutes long only once daily with warm water, not hot
  • Soap used in the shower should be mild and unscented
  • After showering, pat dry and apply a mild, fragrance free moisturizer (either cream or ointment) to damp skin
  • Use a hypoallergenic detergent to wash clothing, sheets and towels and avoid fabric softener
  • Stay away from wool, perfume and body sprays
  • Use a humidifier during dry winter months

Treatment Options for Atopic Dermatitis 

Treatment of atopic dermatitis usually begins with topical corticosteroids. Antihistamines may be used to decrease itch and enhance sleep, while antibiotics may be utilized if an infection is present. Allergy and patch testing may be a consideration in patients who also suffer from asthma, hay fever or sensitivity to products. Our office currently offers comprehensive patch testing using the 70 allergen North American Contact Dermatitis Group panel. For refractory or severe cases of atopic dermatitis, phototherapy with narrowband UVB is also available at Spring Street Dermatology.

Learn more about atopic dermatitis at the National Eczema Association.

Schedule Your Atopic Dermatitis Consultation Online

To learn more about treatment options for atopic dermatitis, contact Spring Street Dermatology in SOHO, Tribeca, and Uptown, NYC to schedule a consultation. You can also schedule an appointment online here.

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