Atopic Dermatitis /Eczema
This is a common skin condition characterised by intensely itchy, small, bumpy, red rash. Sometimes, blisters may form. Left untreated, the skin may darken, thicken and look leathery.
There is a familial tendency and patients with it are also more prone to asthma and hay fever. Doctors believe that the underlying cause is multifactorial. A genetically predisposed person reacts to an environmental trigger which then sets off an eczematous skin reaction is the widely held postulate.
Atopic dermatitis in children tends to improve with age. However, adult onset rash will usually need medical intervention.
At Chelsea Clinic, our approach to eczema is two-fold.
- Treat the existing rash.
- Prevent normal skin from becoming eczematous.
We do this by using a combination of topical steroids, topical immune modulators, medical grade emollients, special dressings, topical antifungals and antibacterial agents may also be necessary. Oral antihistamines are often used to help alleviate the intense itch and to break the Itch-Scratch Cycle. Studies have shown that Omega 3 fish oil and Probiotics can help temper the severity of the rash as well.
Contact dermatitis is classified into 2 forms – irritant and allergic. Anyone will develop irritant contact dermatitis given sufficient exposure to the insulting agent. Common culprits are soap, detergents, solvents, even water.
Allergic contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is specific to an individual. The person must first be sensitised to the allergen and, on subsequent exposure, develop an allergic eczematous looking rash to it. Common allergens are latex, nickel, fragrances, preservatives, plants, hair dyes, chromates (found in leather and cement).
Clues to the diagnosis can be elucidated from a positive contact history and the location of the rash.
Treatment is 3-fold. 1) Avoid/minimise exposure to aggravating factors including the insulting agent. 2) Moisturisers and topical steroids/immune modulators. 3) Oral anti-histamines for itch control.