Eczema (AD) – what is it and what does it look like?

What is eczema?

Red papules bloom on the skin suddenly. They multiply, spill, burn and itch. Eczema, or atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis), is an inflammatory skin condition that most often develops as a result of contact with a specific allergen.

Is atopic dermatitis eczema?

Atopic dermatitis (AD), eczema or atopic eczema – these are the names of the same, chronic and recurrent inflammatory skin disease. AD is not contagious and is not contagious, but is caused by inflammation in the skin.

People with atopic dermatitis have an innate tendency to allergies and excessively dry skin, which is not a sufficient barrier against the penetration of irritating substances from the environment. AD can develop in a few-month-old toddler and, although it usually passes with age, some patients will accompany it for the rest of their lives.

In AD therapy, in addition to the use of medications prescribed by a doctor, proper skin care – proper cleansing and moisturizing – plays a very important role.

Causes of eczema

The causes of eczema are complex. Genetic factors (estimated at 80% on average) as well as immunological and environmental factors are involved in the development of the disease, but atopic dermatitis will always be accompanied by a defect in the epidermis.

Thus, eczema develops in people with a genetic predisposition, but the presence of specific environmental factors is necessary for the appearance of symptoms, for example, consumption of food that is a source of allergens that cause skin symptoms. That is why it is so important to know the causes of skin lesions and to avoid them.
It is worth remembering that breastfeeding for at least the first 3 months of an infant’s life reduces the risk of developing atopic dermatitis in the child, especially if someone in the family was affected by eczema.

Eczema – the first symptoms of the disease

Diagnosing eczema is not always straightforward. Early signs of eczema are characteristic skin changes – papules, erythema, vesicles located on the cheeks, forehead, face in children, and around the elbows, knees, nape, neck, feet and hands in adolescents and adults. Another typical symptom is an intense itching of the skin, which is provoked by intense scratching. Changes visible on the epidermis appear up to 24-48 hours after contact with the source of the allergen. These lesions may coalesce, but are always demarcated from non-inflamed areas. The disease is always characterized by severe dryness of the skin.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or your child, seek help from an internist or paediatrician, and preferably a specialist doctor (dermatologist, allergist). Do not relieve symptoms on your own or try to treat them without consulting a doctor, as this may intensify inflammatory changes. At the same time, remember that both at the stage of treatment and prophylaxis, a lot depends on you and your knowledge about the disease, factors causing it or exacerbating symptoms, and methods of prevention and skin care during therapy recommended by a specialist.

Author: Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a passionate advocate for healthy living and skin wellness. Through her work, Emily aims to empower individuals to take control of their skin health and lead happier, eczema-free lives.