You have been experiencing annoying sensations in your skin for a long time. You have dry and scaly patches that cause eczemas with an intense itching sensation. The dermatologist confirms your suspicions: you suffer from atopic dermatitis but you still have many doubts regarding this condition. Who is affected by atopic dermatitis? Will it have any impact on my life? Is it recurrent? In this post, we will discuss who the patient with atopic dermatitis is, the impact of the disease in his/her life, and recommendations for a basic skincare routine.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by discomfort and dry sensations on the skin that promotes an intense itching in the affected area, leading to an inflammatory response, formation of injuries, and infections1.
It is primarily a disease of infancy with a prevalence estimated at 15% to 30%2. Although it was believed that the adult onset of the disease was developed only in people who had atopic dermatitis as children, the disease can appear in adults without any medical history, having a prevalence estimated at 1% to 3%2,3. Moreover, this skin condition is commonly seen in people that suffer from allergies and respiratory diseases2.
Atopic dermatitis and its impact on the quality of daily life
A patient with atopic skin usually develops flare-ups of the disease at intermittent intervals of time, meaning that there are periods in which they do not develop any symptoms of the disease. However, every few weeks or months they will have a new outbreak. On average, patients experience 9 flares per year, lasting 15 days each time5.
Although the symptoms of the disease are not life-threatening, they can have a significant impact on the quality of life. Lesions in atopic skin can appear on any part of the body but they are present more frequently in the face, neck, and flexural areas. Since these lesions can be large and severe, they can have a negative effect on the patients’ self-esteem and may limit their social life or everyday activity.
Studies in adult patients have shown that atopic dermatitis has a greater impact on quality of life and mental health than other common skin diseases, affecting as well other family members and partners. Since atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition, patients may experience periods of stress and anxiety that diminish their physical, psychological, and social wellbeing as it affects sleeping habits, work and social relationships4–6.
On the other hand, lesions in atopic dermatitis are usually characterized by an intense and persistent itching sensation. Most of the times, this itching sensation is difficult to relieve being more intense during nighttime. This fact causes that patients with atopic dermatitis may have mood swings, irritability, and sleep alterations during a flare-up5.
Why do I have another flare-up?
Atopic skin is more sensitive and reactive due to an impaired skin barrier function caused by genetic and immunological factors. If you are interested in this topic, visit our latest post about the physiological factors of the skin that are associated with the development of atopic dermatitis. However, ambient factors and external stimuli play an important role in the development of this disease as well.
External stimuli are factors that act on the skin triggering a response. In atopic skin, the response usually leads to a new outbreak of dryness and eczema. Common stimuli include temperature changes, pollution, contact with clothes or accessories, sweat, infections, personal hygiene habits, use of aggressive soaps, chemicals, and fragrances in cosmetics2,7.
A skincare routine specific for atopic skin is important to maintain and strengthen the skin barrier and restore the balance of the skin.
The skin with an impaired skin barrier function has a higher risk to develop a new outbreak when it is in contact with an external stimulus. Therefore, a skincare routine specific for atopic skin is important to prevent and relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of an outbreak.
As previously mentioned, sensitive or atopic skin is characterized by having a skin barrier dysfunction which favors that other cutaneous structures, such as the immune or neurosensory system, are more exposed to external stimuli. Consequently, the over-activation of both systems leads to the development of annoying sensations when exposed to environmental factors that should not cause this effect. For example, a normal neurosensory system is able to detect temperature or pH changes due to the presence of chemical agents and to induce an adaptive response. On sensitive and atopic skin, the over-activated nerve endings are responsible for causing itching in response to everyday factors. Therefore, it is important to include in your skincare routine, hydrating products that relieve dryness, help to restore the skin barrier, and balance the neurosensory system.
During acute flare-ups, the dermatologist will determine the appropriate treatment for your case. Moreover, in sensitive areas, our new product Nocisens® Intense due to its high concentration of neurocosmetic active ingredients will moisture and restore the balance of the cutaneous neurosensory system helping to ease the annoying sensations.
When the outbreak of atopic dermatitis is under control, it is important that the skincare routine includes a product that helps to maintain a healthy skin barrier, restore the lipids levels, and increase the skin hydration to prevent new outbreaks. In this case, Nocisens® is the right product since it is a neurocosmetic cream that deeply hydrates the skin and acts on the cutaneous neurosensory system preventing the uncomfortable sensations in the skin.
1. Fortson, E. A., Feldman, S. R. & Strowd, L. C. Management of Atopic Dermatitis. (2017). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-64804-0
2. Salvador, S. J., Romero-Perez, D. & Encabo-Duran, B. Atopic Dermatitis in Adults : A Diagnostic Challenge. J. Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 27, 78–88 (2017).
3. Garg, A., Healy, T., Sunny, L. & Coutcher, J. ATOPIC DERMATITIS – GLOBAL DRUG FORECAST AND MARKET ANALYSIS TO 2024. Glob. Data (2015).
4. Zuberbier, T. et al. Patient perspectives on the management of atopic dermatitis. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 226–232 (2006). doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2006.02.031
5. Finlay, A. Y. & Khan, G. K. Dermatology Life Quality Index ( DLQI )— a simple practical measure for routine clinical use. Cliical Exp. Dermatology 19, 210–216 (1994).
6. Kiebert, G. et al. Atopic dermatitis is associated with a decrement in health-related quality of life. Int. J. Dermatol. 41, 151–158 (2002).
7. Kim, J. et al. Pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis : Clinical implications. Allergy Asthma Proc. 40, 1–3 (2019).