Skin Prone to Atopy

 

How to recognise skin prone to atopy:

 

Atopic skin is a chronic skin condition that progresses in successive stages of flare-ups and remission periods. Scaly skin, redness, inflammation and oozing can be seen. Itching and sleep disturbance can also be experienced.

In newborns, symptoms are mainly found on the face, on the cheeks and chin. As the child get older, lesions can be found in skin folds, behind the knees, around the elbows, wrists and hands.

 

Extremely dry skin suffers from a shortage of lipids. This abnormality causes the water in the body on the skin's surface to evaporate excessively. The skin no longer fulfils its barrier function and no longer protects the body against external stress. Being hyper-permeable, the skin easily lets molecules from the environment penetrate the skin. These include allergens that can cause inflammation and sometimes itching. The resulting urge to scratch causes lesions, which increase breaks in the skin. The skin becomes even more permeable to allergens; a vicious circle sets in.

 

Three main types of environmental allergens responsible for acute inflammatory reactions have been identified:

  • Airborne allergens: mites, house dust, pollen, cat and dog hair, feathers, mould, etc.
  • Food allergens,
  • Contact allergens: nickel, fragrances, etc.

Another significant factor for maintenance of the condition is the presence of a pathogenic bacterium, staphylococcus aureus, on atopic skin. It adheres to atopic skin, even outside of eczema flare-ups, thus maintaining chronic inflammation at the very least.

 

Tips and recommendations

  • Visit a dermatologist.
  • Avoid allergens likely to create more inflammatory reactions  (mites, pollen, animal hair, etc.).
  • Choose cotton clothing when possible.
  • Maintain a low temperature in the room.
  • Use gentle high tolerance cleansers. Favour liquid syndets (soap-free cleansers) or lipids enriched bars to nourish gently and deeply the skin.
  • Limit your shower to 5 minutes and avoid hot water that can increase drying effects. Follow by applying a moisturiser to promote the reconstruction of the skin barrier to make it more comfortable.
  • While experiencing flare-ups, use an adapted emollient to relieve itching sensations and reduce inflammatory lesions.

 

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