Chances are that your child or a kid you know suffer from eczema – also called atopic dermatitis. Learning more about eczema will help you treat your child’s symptoms and flares more effectively. Dr. Tania Phillips, a dermatologist at SkinCare Physicians near Boston, explains the basics about this common skin condition, and offers helpful treatment instructions.
Dermatitis means inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis or Eczema is a common skin disorder that affects 10 – 20% of children. It results in a rash and skin that is dry, itchy, inflamed and infected.
Many children with atopic dermatitis do not have enough of a special skin protein called “filaggrin”. Filaggrin helps the skin to form a strong barrier between the body and the environment. Without this barrier the skin cannot hold onto water, so it becomes dry and itchy and is unable to keep out irritants like dust mites and bacterial. This then leads to more skin irritation and infections. Scratching the rash usually aggravates the symptoms and may introduce a secondary infection.
There is no cure. Your goal is to prevent dry skin, decrease itching and control the rash. Atopic dermatitis tends to be a chronic condition that may clear completely or flare if aggravated. During the “flare” you can help your child’s skin heal faster by following the instructions below. It is important to see your dermatologist who will treat all four of the skin problems at once: dryness, itchiness, inflammation and infection.
It is important to see your dermatologist if your child’s skin is not improving. Since atopic dermatitis is a long lasting disorder, it is important to continue daily bathing and moisturizing. This will help prevent your child’s atopic dermatitis from getting worse.
Please feel free to contact SkinCare Physicians’ office with any additional questions or concerns about your child’s eczema.