Eczema - atopic dermatitis – a common yet misunderstood condition
Do you have itchy dry skin? Is your skin sensitive to fragrances or even minor irritants? Well, you may be suffering from eczema. Eczema is one of the commonest skin diseases in the world. At the same time, it is one of the most misunderstood ones, according to Dr. Mariusz Sapijaszko, the leading dermatologist at the Youthful Image Edmonton Clinic.
If you have been unlucky enough to suffer from bouts of eczema – medically known as atopic dermatitis - then you are probably acquainted with the scratchy itchiness of the skin that is a common indicator of this disease. Dr. Mariusz Sapijaszko says that like psoriasis, eczema is also an immune disorder in which a certain section of the skin cells become abnormal and lose their capacity to hold water. These dehydrated layers of skin disrupt the skin barrier and lead to the eczema rash. Eczema is often an inherited problem that is passed on from generation to generation. In addition, there is a strong association between eczema, asthma and hay fever.
The most common presentation of eczema is dry itchy skin. With time, the skin becomes red and flaky. The itch is so intense that it is virtually impossible not to scratch. This, in turn, can break the skin and further worsen the condition by exposing the immune system, through open wounds, to the irritating environment. Over time, unwanted bacteria, fungi and even viruses can take hold making the itchiness and the whole condition even worse. As you can see, this can create a vicious cycle of itch and scratch.
When the patients see their eczema patches, they try to sooth them with moisturizing creams. They believe that putting these creams on the skin will improve their condition. The problem is that most creams are just not good for the skin. Most non-medicated creams contain fragrances and artificial agents which can act as triggers, worsening the immune condition of eczema.
People who live in polluted cities or have a family history of auto immune skin diseases need to be particularly careful about such creams as they are more likely to have a reaction to these creams leading to irritation and itching. It’s advisable to contact your dermatologist where proper diagnosis and treatments can be offered for this cumbersome skin issue.
Dermatologist, Dr. Mariusz Sapijaszko of the Youthful Image Edmonton Clinic, says that the treatment of eczema is dependent upon the extent of the disease as well as the systemic manifestations in each individual patient. The trick here is to use products that replenish the natural moisturizing factors of the skin.
The above information is publicly available from multiple library and scientific community sources and is intended for general information only. It does not replace a visit and a discussion with your family doctor or a dermatologist.
Dr. Sapijaszko and his team are conducting studies to help people with eczema (atopic dermatitis). If you are interested in participating, please contact us at 780-424-4440 ext. 3 or email us.
The information provided on this website is for Canadian patients only and is meant for information and education that is based on experience and research.