What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic Dermatitis is basically eczema in children and babies. That probably effects about 10-20% of the population. That commonly presents with a baby with red, itchy, scaly rash typically in the flexural folds so other here and behind the knees. This can be quite a problem for the patient’s family because the baby is often up all night itching, scratching, and crying.

So there are certain fundamental aspects of treating pediatric atopic dermatitis. A lot of these go over to treating all eczema and dermatitis. With these patients, you want to keep the showers or the baths really short, 2-3 minutes, get in and get out. You want to use lukewarm water, not super hot and not super cold. You want to use a gentle soap such as cetaphil or cerave. When you get out, you want to pat yourself dry, you don’t want to rub with the towel because it strips the skin area. And then you want to take your thick moisturizer and seal that water back in. We usually recommend things such as cetaphil or cerave or even eucerin or even aquaphor. So all of those principles are very important for atopic dermatitis but really for all forms of eczema.

For patients that are flaring, we’ll often use again the topical keratosis steroid cream. Again, these are safe in babies and children if you’re picking the right dose that’s recommended by a dermatologist and following the directions. Sometimes we’ll use oral antihistamines or topical or prescriptions anti-itch agents to break that itch, scratch cycle. Antibiotics also play a role in our treatment of eczema. As I mentioned, eczema is a very itchy condition. Sometimes with this itching and scratching, people with eczema are prone to secondary staff infections. So a lot of the times when eczema is flaring and not really responding to the treatments I’ve gone through already, we’ll often add an oral antibiotic to treat the staff that’s flaring up the eczema.