Dr Ian Webster
Dr Ian Webster

Atopic Eczema

Severe Atopic Eczema occurs mainly in children and it can be a debilitating condition for both the patient and their parents. As a Dermatologist, it is one of the most challenging medical conditions to treat. The word Atopic means a genetic predisposition towards eczema, hay-fever and asthma. The words Dermatitis and Eczema can be interchanged as they have the same meaning. Atopic Eczema is a condition affecting up to 20% of children in the Western World and there has been a marked increase in this skin condition over the last few decades.

Although there is no cure as such for Atopic Eczema, there is much that can be done to alleviate the condition and to make it more manageable and less stressful for the patients and their families. Atopic Eczema tends to clear in approximately 43% of children of the age of 3 and by 70% by puberty.

“Atopic Eczema is a condition affecting up to 20% of children in the Western World and there has been a marked increase in this skin condition over the last few decades.”

In the past it was thought that Atopic Eczema was primarily an allergic disease. We now know that many patients with Atopic Eczema have a genetically dry skin with an impaired epidermal barrier function. Because of this impaired epidermal barrier, the body’s immune system becomes exposed to various antigens and therefore builds up an allergic response.

A newborn baby’s skin is much more delicate and sensitive so it needs more care and protection. It is therefore essential to use the correct cleansers and moisturisers immediately from birth as this can help to prevent the onset of Atopic Eczema.

Once the child has actually developed Atopic Eczema, the mainstay of treatment is topical corticosteroid creams or ointments. The topical corticosteroids will often be able to break the scratch/itch/scratch cycle. Once the eczema is under control, I recommend the use of topical calcineurin inhibitors as a maintenance treatment as they do not contain any cortisone and have far fewer side effects. In South Africa we have two products available namely Protopic ointment and Elidel cream. A prescription is required for these products.

“A newborn baby’s skin is much more delicate and sensitive so it needs more care and protection. It is therefore essential to use the correct cleansers and moisturisers immediately from birth as this can help to prevent the onset of Atopic Eczema”

Children with Atopic Eczema are more prone to bacterial as well as viral infections. Often secondary infection with the bacteria Staphylaccocal Aureus can cause a flare of the Atopic Eczema. A course of the appropriate antibiotic will often help to reduce the flare. A very important part of the long term management of Atopic Eczema is to use the correct moisturiser on the face and body. It has been shown that the correct, frequent use of the appropriate moisturiser will reduce the number of topical cortisone creams needed to control the eczema.

Therefore, although there is no cure as such for Atopic Eczema there is a lot we can do to improve the condition and to make the patient’s life more tolerable.

Posted in LEARN / SKIN CONDITIONS on October 3rd, 2017.

Products for Atopic Eczema

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ 200ml

La Roche-Posay
Lipikar Balm AP+ 200ml

R330.00

La Roche-Posay
Lipikar Balm AP+ 200ml

Barrier Repairing Body Relief Cream

For Atopic or Very…

R330.00
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Lamelle Serra Lipid Recovery Mask

Lamelle
Serra Lipid Recovery Mask

R475.00

Lamelle
Serra Lipid Recovery Mask

Lipid Recovery Hydrating Mask

Dry, Atopic Skin

R475.00
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Mustela Stelatopia Cleansing Cream

Mustela
Stelatopia Cleansing Cream

R260.00

Mustela
Stelatopia Cleansing Cream

Dry & Eczema Prone Skin

Gentle Soothing Cleanser

R260.00
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