When does children’s atopic dermatitis disappear?

Atopic dermatitis, also called atopic or endogenous eczema, is the most common skin disorder in children. The disease affects adults, as well, but in 90% of the cases it develops during the first 5 years of life.

Atopic dermatitis is characterized by damage of the epidermal barrier and chronic inflammation of the skin, caused by hypersensitivity of an individual to common allergens. Usually, this type of dermatosis is associated with personal or family history of asthma, conjunctivitis, hay fever and other allergic manifestations.

The causes of atopic dermatitis are not yet fully understood, but a certain correlation between its appearance and a weak immune system has been established. In this regard, exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life (which helps to build immunity) is a good preventive measure against the disease.

Statistics show that endogenous eczema is much more typical of developed countries with high hygienic culture. This fact is explained by the hypothesis of epidemiologist David Strachey, according to whom, if a person comes in contact with potential allergens (unpasteurized milk, pets, etc.) from an early age, it is much more likely for the immune system to tolerate them in the future. Therefore, supporters of the "hygiene hypothesis" believe that raising a child in a "sterile" environment increases the risk of developing the disease.

Atopic eczema occurs with periods of exacerbation and calm and has specific manifestations in each individual. However, patients in the same age group (babies, children, persons over 16 years) experience similar symptoms.

Starting in the first months after birth, atopic dermatitis causes dryness and flaking of the skin, accompanied by itching, while the typical of the disease rashes are localized mainly in the area of the scalp and face. Common symptoms also are restless sleep (result of itching), as well as the appearance of skin infections and bubbles filled with fluid.

In children over 2 years, clinically the dermatosis differs in terms of location of skin lesions that cover mainly the folds of the elbows and the knees, the neck, the wrists, the ankles and the gluteal folds.

Over time, the skin in the affected areas could become tough and denser or change its color to a lighter or darker shade, while the itching becomes permanent.

In 80% of the cases, atopic eczema disappears until the age of 7. In some of the little patients, however, the disease goes into remission for a long period of time and returns at puberty (or at a later stage of life) due to hormonal changes, stress or other triggers.

Some adults that have gone through the disease as children, experience other manifestations, such as very dry and sensitive skin, eczema in the arms, eye problems (eczema eyelids, cataracts) and others.

Since the distinction between the remission and the complete healing is not always easy, it is essential that the atopic skin is provided with specialized care, which helps to avoid deterioration of the condition and at the same time alleviates discomfort during the acute stages.

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