What Are The Main Causes Of Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes itching and redness and can often be mistaken for an allergic reaction. It’s also known as eczema, which makes identifying it even more difficult. Although the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, there are certain factors that may increase your risk of developing this uncomfortable skin condition. Today, we’ll discuss these common triggers and underlying conditions causing atopic dermatitis so you can better understand how to manage your symptoms if you’re affected by it.

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema, a long-term condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry, and cracked. It usually affects children, but can also occur in adults. Atopic dermatitis is not contagious, although some people may be more prone to developing it due to family history or genetics. Common symptoms include a red, itchy rash that often develops in folds of the skin such as around the elbows or knees. In some cases, blisters can form which may ooze and crust over. The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, but it’s generally considered an intermittent condition meaning flares may appear occasionally and then disappear again.

What are the symptoms of atopic dermatitis?

  • Red and itchy skin rashes that often appear in folds of the skin (such as around the elbows or knees)
  • Blisters that may ooze and crust over
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Thick, leathery patches of skin
  • Dark-colored patches of skin
  • Swelling and inflammation of the affected area
  • Burning or stinging sensations in the affected area
  • Itching may be severe and interfere with sleep.
  • Excessive scratching can lead to secondary infections.

What Are The Main Causes Of Atopic Dermatitis?

Although the exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, there are certain environmental and lifestyle factors that can trigger a flare-up of the condition. These can include:

Genetics – Atopic dermatitis is linked to one’s genetic makeup and can be inherited from parents. It is more likely to occur in individuals with a family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever.

Environment – Factors such as dry air, dust mites, and certain chemicals can act as irritants to the skin and trigger flare-ups. Other environmental factors such as extreme temperatures can also aggravate symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Stress – Increased levels of stress have been known to worsen the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, making it more likely to flare up.

Skin Irritants – Certain ingredients in soaps, detergents, and perfumes can cause skin irritation, leading to a flare-up of atopic dermatitis. People with sensitive skin should always use mild and unscented products to avoid any potential irritants.

Weather changes – Extreme temperatures and humidity levels may worsen the condition, making it more difficult to control.

Diet – Some foods can trigger allergic reactions that may cause atopic dermatitis to flare up. Common triggers include dairy, eggs, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables.

Hormonal Changes – Atopic dermatitis may be aggravated by hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy.

Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis:

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, however, there are a variety of treatments available to help manage symptoms and control flare-ups. Treatment plans generally focus on relieving itchiness, reducing inflammation, and preventing infection. Common treatments include:

  • Topical Corticosteroids – These are creams or ointments that help reduce inflammation caused by atopic dermatitis. They are usually prescribed for short-term use to relieve severe symptoms.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors – These creams or ointments contain tacrolimus and pimecrolimus which reduce inflammation, itchiness, and other symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
  • Antihistamines – While these medications are usually used to treat allergies, some types can be used to reduce itching and inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis.
  • Light Therapy – This involves exposing the affected area to specific types of light which can help relieve symptoms.
  • Allergy Shots – These are sometimes used for severe cases of atopic dermatitis in order to decrease allergic reactions that may trigger flares.


Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While it cannot be cured, there are many treatments available to help manage symptoms and control flares. It is important to speak with your doctor if you suspect you may have this condition in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs. With proper treatment, symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be effectively managed.

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