Atopic dermatitis in children: the remedies

Atopic dermatitis in children is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, one of the most common skin diseases in developed countries.

This disease is characterized by an alteration of the skin barrier that causes a condition of irritation of the epidermis, which tends to redden, itch, thicken and form crusts and scratching lesions.

A skin tending to atopy, in fact, is substantially devoid of that natural protective barrier that normally defends it and makes it more resistant to environmental agents and potential allergens, which can irritate it.

Its causes are still rather uncertain, although it is known that there are risk conditions and that the problem often tends to be transmitted genetically. Onset usually occurs in childhood but can also occur with adulthood.

The trend is chronic-relapsing, which means that it occurs over time alternating acute phases, in which inflammation is more heated, to phases of remission, characterized by a substantial improvement.

Atopic dermatitis, especially when it is severe, can create discomfort and have a negative impact on the lives of those who suffer from it, especially in sensitive subjects such as children, and even family members.

So let’s see how this skin disease manifests itself, what are the causes and the most suitable remedies to treat it.

The causes of atopic dermatitis in children

Contrary to what is often thought, rarely the triggers of atopic dermatitis are immunological mechanisms such as food allergies.

Rather, the causes of atopic dermatitis are to be found in genetic factors and environmental factors, among them are:

  • Irritants;
  • Detergents;
  • Rough and irritating fabrics in contact with the skin (such as wool and synthetics);
  • Sweat;
  • Stressful situations.

How atopic dermatitis manifests itself in children

Dermatitis manifests itself mainly with very dry skin that in some areas tends to become irritated and itchy, even in the absence of obvious skin lesions.

The main symptoms of atopic dermatitis are:

In the presence of dermatitis, the skin surface also appears rough, thickened and with patches, oval or round, brownish-red or grayish in color, depending on the stage in which the disease is located.

The localization of manifestations is age-specific. In the smallest (from 3-6 months up to a year) it develops mainly on the face and scalp. In older children, on the other hand, it occurs in the folds of elbows and knees, on the back of the hands and on the neck.

What disorders are accompanied by atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis mainly affects the baby’s skin, which is certainly more delicate. It usually occurs within the first 5 years of the child’s life, and often lasts until adolescence, albeit intermittently.

Atopic dermatitis can be accompanied by several types of disorders, including:


Hay fever or pollinosis;

Chronic neurodermatitis in adulthood;

Skin infections, due to the action of bacteria and viruses;

Allergic contact dermatitis.

Many children with atopic dermatitis usually no longer have symptoms once they reach puberty. After this phase, in fact, the appearance of eczema ceases almost completely, sometimes limiting itself to sporadic relapses during life. However, the atopic subject who is affected by this pathology from an early age has a greater genetic predisposition to develop allergic reactions, especially respiratory (to dust mites, pollen).

How to recognize atopic dermatitis

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis in newborns is clinical and is made by the pediatrician or dermatologist without the need for any specific examination. In fact, they are sufficient:

  1. The description of symptoms;
  2. An objective analysis of the skin.

Atopic dermatitis: what remedies to take

First of all, it must be said that there is no real cure that solves atopic dermatitis definitively.

If it occurs in an acute phase, it is usually intervened with therapies at local level, useful to treat the serious symptoms with which it manifests itself and to bring benefits to the skin.

The standard therapy for the treatment of dermatitis involves the use of topical corticosteroids, to be applied always according to a doctor’s prescription, because they can give rise to unwanted side effects if not used correctly.

In addition to the use of topical cortisone-based ointments and ointments, the treatment for atopic dermatitis can also include the use of:

  • Emollient creams for topical use (to rehydrate the skin and restore skin lipids);
  • Ointments and moisturizers (to relieve skin dryness and regenerate the skin);
  • Immunomodulatory drugs;
  • Systemic drugs with immunosuppressive action (which prevent the immune system from starting the inflammatory process);
  • Oral antihistamine medications (to reduce histamine in the blood that is responsible for itching);
  • Antibiotic or antifungal creams (in case of overlapping bacterial or fungal infections).

Preventing atopic dermatitis: is it possible?

Traditional therapeutic treatment, for topical or oral use, is not the only solution to prevent and contain this problem.

Careful hydration of the skin and the adoption of correct hygiene habits can also serve to reduce flare-ups and relieve symptoms.

Here are some useful tips to eliminate risk factors:

  • Pay attention to the products that are used for the care of the baby’s skin;
  • Prefer the shower with warm water to the bath: ablutions can be daily but short (no more than 5 minutes);
  • Use natural and delicate detergents, such as Marseille or Aleppo soap;
  • Moisturize the skin with delicate and specific moisturizing products (free of allergenic substances such as nickel or perfumes);
  • Dry the baby’s skin well after daily hygiene, gently tabbing without rubbing;
  • Use clothing and underwear made of natural textile fibers, possibly white and breathable, which help contain sweating;
  • Do not wash the baby’s clothes with aggressive detergents;
  • Humidify (at least 50%) the environments in which the newborn lives daily;
  • Have the child follow an appropriate diet, avoiding possible allergenic foods.

Atopic skin is a skin without a protective barrier and consequently more vulnerable, sensitive, which dries out and becomes irritated easily. Therefore, in case of atopic dermatitis in children it is very important to properly moisturize their skin based on humectant substances such as glycerin and panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), particularly indicated to treat this disorder. Equally important are lipids such as ceramides that are present in the skin. The fundamental role of these products is to restore the skin barrier by integrating the missing lipids and thus preventing the entry of irritants, in order to quickly relieve itching.

In addition, it is preferable to choose a cream that acts on the annoying symptoms of dermatitis such as itching and redness, and that it is a product, without perfumes, preservatives, emulsifiers or other potentially irritating and allergenic substances, which can be applied several times a day safely.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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