ATOPIC DERMATITIS

Atopic Dermatitis is a common condition the skin that usually occurs on the cheeks and hands, but it can

affect other skin.  It is not an infection, and is usually caused by an allergic response or a reaction to an

irritant, such as formaldehyde, perfume, or perfumed products (scented soaps, fabric softeners, deodorants

or contact with dry weeds).  Sometimes high quality or natural perfumes do not cause an allergic response.

It usually affects young children, adolescents or adults with light hair, blue eyes and fair skin who have allergies.

It is more common in young children and may be accompanied by Hay Fever and Asthma.  It can be started by

drying trauma to the skin, such as handling dry weeds.

 

FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Flushed cheeks          • Peeling skin        • May be painful to touch            • Gets worse with exposures.         

CAUSES  --  Sensitive immune system (Ig E)

RISK INCREASES WITH

  • Asthma         • Use of perfumed soaps, strong chemicals or perfume.    •  Harsh chemicals or weather.

  • People who get short of breath in the detergent isle in the food store.     • Hay fever

 

PREVENTION

Avoid long soaks in the tub.  Shower quickly when possible to avoid stripping the oil from the skin.

 

SOAPS & PERFUMES  Avoid anything that irritates or has scents.  Avoid detergents and dish washing. 

Avoid artificial perfumes like scented soaps {Irish Spring & others}, deodorants, body splashes or perfume. 

Usually high quality or natural perfumes do not cause an allergic response.  Some good soaps are Neutrogena,

Purpose, Unscented Dial, Unscented Dove or unscented baby shampoo.  Use gentle cleansers like Cetaphil

to clean your face if skin is hot or your cheeks are red. 

 

SUNSCREENS should be waterproof, PABA free, block UVA & UVB light, & have a SPF of  at least 30.

Examples are PreSun 30, and Neutrogena 30.  Sunscreens may be used under cosmetics and are in some moisturizers.  Sunsceens reduce skin drying & skin damage.  They also reduce skin aging.        

 

FABRIC SOFTENERS & TOILETRIES may actually make Atopic Dermatitis worse.  Use products

which are free of lanolin, formaldehyde, mineral oil, and  perfume.   Do not use DOWNY fabric softeners or

fabric softener dryer sheets.  Avoid Fabreeze, which contains formaldehyde.

 

EXPECTED OUTCOME

You can grow out of this, but atopic dermatitis and allergies are usually present for a lifetime.  People usually learn

to avoid the offending agents.  Decreasing exposure to allergens reduces the skin irritability and can allow the skin

to clear.

 

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

  Allergy reactions tend to increase if provoked. You may get Hay Fever and Asthma if you have this.

 

TREATMENT

 GENERAL MEASURES

  • Avoid over-drying the skin.  Avoid chemicals, soaps or perfumes that can cause skin reactions.  Avoid products

with perfumes or formaldehyde.  Do not soak in the bath tub.  Avoid cigarette smoke.  Use a non-perfumed

moisturizer right after bathing.

 CHEMICALS and MEDICATIONS

   • Use a non-perfumed moisturizer to protect the skin.

   • Nonsteroidal cream (such as Elodel) reduces irritation and does not thin skin.  Steroid cream (such as

    0.1% Triamcinolone or hydrocortisone) reduces irritation, but can harm thin skin like the groin or the face.

  • Avoid long term use of corticosteroids on thin skin (face, genitals, groin or folds), since makes skin even

    thinner.  Once the skin is thinned in this manner it will never return to normal and will hurt all your life.

  • Avoid covering large surfaces for more than 14 days since it may stop your body from making natural

    corticosteroids.

ACTIVITY

  Avoid activities that dry the skin, such as handling dry weeds, dry powders or long exposures with water.  You may

swim if the sensitive skin is re-moisturized afterwards and exposure is limited.

DIET   Avoid dietary allergens.

 
NOTE: This data is provided as a public service and should not be used without a doctor’s evaluation. 
Although this information is effective for many people, I cannot guarantee it is safe for everyone.  
Ask your doctor before using any of this.                                                                                                 rev.  02/25/12