Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease that most commonly affects children during their first year of life. Although it can occur at any phase of life, but is also commonly noted in older children and occasionally in adults. This disease causes inflammation and severe itching that many a times leads to skin infection. These rashes are commonly seen over the scalp, neck, cheeks and face. As the child grows older and with increasing age inadults, the rashes mainly appear in body creases and folds.


The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is still under research but it is believed that people with the following are at risk of developing atopic dermatitis-

  • People with asthma or hay fever
  • Living in cities and in cold climate
  • Family history of dermatitis

Dermatitis is not caused by food allergies but people with dermatitis are allergic to a certain type of food like milk and other dairy products, shellfish and nuts.


  • Dry itchy and scaly skin
  • Redness and rashes
  • Scratching and itching
  • Appears bumpy and develop knots in thickened areas
  • Lichenification and weeping blisters when burst


If left untreated, atopic dermatitis may results in:


1. Asthma and hay fever

More than half of the children with atopic dermatitis develop asthma and hay fever by the age of 13.


2. Chronic itchy, scaly skin

Atopic dermatitis can cause the affected skin to become discolored, thick and leathery.


3. Skin infections

Repeated scratching that breaks the skin can cause cracks and open sores. These increase the risk of pathogen invasion and infection.


4. Irritant hand dermatitis

This especially affects people whose core work requires their hands to be wet and exposed to detergents, harsh soaps, and disinfectants.


5. Sleep problems

The itch-scratch cycle can result in poor sleep quality.


It’s important to visit the dermatologist for treatment to control the disease and prevent it from worsening. Treatment includes medicines to control itching, reduce skin inflammation (redness and swelling) and get rid of the infection.

To prevent relapse, the dermatologist will also suggest lifestyle modifications that are very helpful and important to manage the disease.

Tips for people with Dermatitis

Ways to ease discomfort

  • Make sure the humidity and temperature levels are comfortable.
  • Apply moisturizer twice daily to make sure the skin does not get dry and cracks.
  • Enquire your doctor about how to use wet wrap therapy and its effects.
  • Make sure your child’s fingernails are cut short and smooth.
  • Avoid the use of perfumes, dyes, and detergents that can irritate your skin.


Bathing care

  • Bath your child with warm water not with hot water and make sure you complete the bath within 5-10 mins.
  • Just pat the skin after the bath with soft cotton towels and don’t make it dry completely.
  • Apply for the medicine if advised after bath. Make sure you apply for the medicine before the skin gets completely dry.
  • Apply moisturizer over the medicated skin.
  • Avoid bubble bath and prefer a bleach bath every two days if the skin is infected. Bleach bath reduces inflammation and kills the pathogen.


Choosing the right clothes

  • Wear skin-friendly cotton clothes.
  • Use a limited amount of detergents to wash the clothes.
  • Rinse the clothes with an adequate amount of water and dry them completely under direct sunlight.
  • Wash new clothes with plain water before wearing to your child to remove excess dyes and fragrances.
  • Synthetic and wool clothes must be avoided.

In case you have a concern or query, you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!