29 April 2019
ATOPIC SKIN: SIGNS, CAUSES & SKIN CARE
Atopic skin is a more severe form of very dry skin, where the skin becomes irritated, with itching.
Atopic dermatitis (which most of us know as eczema) is an inflammatory skin disease with tell-tale signs: extreme dryness and red patches, often covered with small “blisters” that cause intense itching. It is a non-contagious chronic disease with eczema flare-ups. These acute break-outs impact the quality of life of sufferers significantly, often causing insomnia. People with atopic skin often also have other allergies such as asthma, allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis.
What causes atopy?
Atopy is often genetic. Studies have shown that if one parent has atopic skin, the probability of the child having the same skin condition is 30%. If both parents are affected, the probability is 70%. It is also related to an abnormal immune system, which over-reacts, creating inflammation. The skin becomes vulnerable to allergens (mites, animal hair, pollen) and certain bacteria, which trigger inflammatory reactions.
Food allergies (cow’s milk, eggs, etc.) are also involved in triggering certain eczema flare-ups.
Chemical products applied to the skin, heat or perspiration are also irritants that can cause flare-ups.
To prevent atopic skin appearing and worsening, doctors recommend early management from birth to treat potentially atopic skin in newborns who don’t yet show signs of the condition but who have a genetic predisposition. Atoderm Preventive was created specifically for this.
• Bathe consciously
When cleansing, use a product that is pH-friendly and which doesn’t strip skin of its natural moisturising factors. Use warm - not hot - water, and keep your bath or shower time short, as higher temperature and longer exposure may further dry out your skin barrier.
• Moisturise regularly
It is essential to use a emollient cream or balm twice daily on atopic skin to keep the skin moisturised and comfortable and to reduce itching.
BIODERMA’s Atoderm Intensive range increases your skin’s production of lipids which strengthen its protective film. Atopic skin is also prone to bacterial infection (commonly by Staph Aureus). The sucroester used in the Intensive range formula helps prevent bacteria attaching to the skin and growing. Atoderm Intensive really is a proactive formulation in terms of skin repair and defense!
• Don't scratch
Atopic skin is itchy skin. Affected skin and nerve cells produce irritating mediators that stimulate itching. Topical steroids (cortisone creams) can soothe this response, but these medical creams can only be used very specifically, and not too frequently. Thankfully, you may get relief from BIODERMA's Atoderm SOS Spray, which blocks release of itch mediators almost instantly, soothes inflamed skin and improves hydration. It may be used as often as needed, and it is great to use on children and babies for immediate relief.
• Speed-up healing
Despite our best efforts, it is hard not to scratch atopic skin. Steroid cream should not be placed over broken skin, as it may hinder wound healing. I recommend BIODERMA’s Cicabio Cream over wounds or broken skin. Cicabio has a combination of antalgicine, which decreases the itching sensation, together with copper and zinc, which decreases susceptibility to infection.
Want to know more about atopic skin?
Find expert advice in our Irritated, Itchy Atopic Your skin page here.