Atopic Dermatitis

Management and Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common, often persistent skin disease that affects a large percentage of the world’s population. There is a known hereditary component of the disease, and it is more common in affected families. The term dermatitis means inflammation of the skin. Many physicians and patients use the term eczema when they are referring to this condition. Eczema is a widespread affliction affecting the lives of millions of children and adults.

Prevalence

• 31.6 million Americans are estimated to have symptoms of eczema, including 17.8 million with symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
• Worldwide, about 20 percent of children and up to 3 percent of the adult population have some form of eczema. Those who live in developed countries or colder climates seem to be more prone to developing eczema.
• Hand dermatitis accounts for 20–35% of all U.S. eczema cases, affecting up to 10% of the U.S. population.
• In a 2007 U.S. survey, just over one‐third (37.1%) of those with eczema symptoms reported a physician diagnosis.

Research

In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy and inflamed, causing redness, swelling, vesicle formation, cracking, weeping, crusting, and scaling. This type of eruption is termed eczematous. In addition, dry skin is a very common complaint in almost all those afflicted with atopic dermatitis.

Although atopic dermatitis can occur at any age, most often it affects infants and young children. Occasionally, it may persist into adulthood or may rarely appear at that time. Some patients tend to have a protracted course with ups and downs. In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse, called exacerbations or flares, which are followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely, called remissions. Many children with atopic dermatitis enter into a permanent remission of the disease when they get older, although their skin may remain somewhat dry and easily irritated. Multiple factors can trigger or worsen atopic dermatitis, including low humidity, seasonal allergies, exposure to harsh soaps and detergents, and cold weather. Environmental factors can activate symptoms of atopic dermatitis at any time in the lives of individuals who have inherited the atopic disease trait.

Recent research has shown eczema prone individuals to be more heavily colonized with Staphylococcus Aureus than the non-eczema afflicted population (Miller, Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2018). This same research has directly connected chemical byproducts (Delta Toxins) of this colonized bacteria with the skin-based inflammation we know as “eczema.” At Turn, our goal is to address this root cause of inflammation, the excess bioburden, with non-sensitizing antimicrobials, all the while soothing symptoms and maintaining moisture balance with gentle carrier matrices.