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Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a common type of eczema that affects more than 9.6 million children and about 16.5 million adults in the United States. It’s a chronic condition that is identified by the development of dry, scaly, red patches of skin on the face, arms or legs. These affected areas are extremely itchy,” explains Angie Seelal, R-PAC specializing in dermatology with Advanced Dermatology PC, “and can interfere with sleep and trigger scratching that can bring additional skin problems: worsened inflammation and the risk of infection.”
“ The good news is that there are interventions to help manage this disruptive skin condition,” noted Seelal.
Atopic dermatitis is not contagious, despite its appearance. For complex scientific reasons, people with AD have an overactive immune system that triggers inflammation that leaves the skin dry and prone to itching and rashes. Research has focused on the skin protein ‘filaggrin,’ which helps maintain a protective skin barrier,” explains Seelal. “A mutation in the gene that codes for filaggrin may be implicated in AD.”
Unfortunately, there is no cure for AD. “However, we have effective treatments that can help patients control symptoms. And early treatment can ward off long-term damage from AD such as lichenification – the skin thickening that can result from chronic scratching,” explains Seelal. Here are some tips for coping with AD: