Are you or your child part of such people who sometimes have fresh and soft skin by on some other days, your skin appears patchy and red? The condition is frustrating such that it’s affecting your facial appearance and self-esteem. You are not alone. According to research, 10-15% of children and 2.5-3.5 ℅ of adults are affected by atopic dermatitis in western industrialized countries.

Atopic dermatitis on the face is a menace that is bent on destroying the skin’s appearance and texture if it’s not well managed. Atopic dermatitis is not restricted to the face, it can also spread to other parts of the body. 

To keep episodes of atopic dermatitis at bay and reclaim your fabulous skin, we have put together this ultimate guide on how to get rid of a topic dermatitis on the face. This article will take you through the leading causes, triggers and treatments of atopic dermatitis.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Atopic dermatitis is a common type of eczema also called atopic eczema. Etymologically, atopic means ” an inherited tendency to develop allergic conditions like food allergy, asthma and hay fever” while dermatitis means red and itchy skin( skin inflammation). 

Atopic dermatitis primarily appears during infancy ( between 6 months -5years) and can continue till adolescence and adulthood. On some occasions, some people develop atopic dermatitis for the first time in adulthood. At the first facial topic, dermatitis may affect just the baby’s forehead and the cheeks. Gradually it may start spreading to other body parts like the back of the ear. For adults, it may affect the cheeks, forehead, sides of the nose, and around the eyes.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease that occurs due to an itchy and dry skin barrier caused by an overactive immune system. This condition is characterised by redness, itchiness, and dryness. There could also be accompanying stinging or burning sensations. 

Atopic dermatitis is often mistaken for other diseases because of the scaling and irritation that accompany it. Examples of these other conditions are psoriasis and fungal infections like ringworm. It is also common for patients with atopic dermatitis to experience symptoms of asthma and hay fever. As such, you should get a proper diagnosis to rule out other diseases. 

Atopic dermatitis flare-up 

Typically symptoms of atopic dermatitis appear in episodes. It has periods of flare-up and remission. During the flare-up period, the symptoms and discomfort may be severe and this condition can last for several weeks for it to go into remission( subsidies). During the remission period, the disease is inactive, and you will be free of all symptoms. In most cases, an effective treatment plan can help atopic dermatitis go into remission for several years. 

Symptoms of facial atopic dermatitis 

There are several symptoms of atopic dermatitis. However, not everyone afflicted by the condition exhibits all signs because the symptoms vary from person to person. In case you were wondering, “what does face eczema look like?” Some symptoms of atopic dermatitis you’ll notice on your face include: 

  • Rashes
  • Blisters
  • Dry skin
  • Scarred or cracked skin 
  • Infected skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Painful skin, with sensations of stings or burns
  • Red skin

These symptoms can affect the quality of life of people affected by the condition. Some patients suffer from sleep disturbances and social stigmatisation despite eczema not being contagious.  

Causes and triggers of atopic dermatitis on the face

 Causes and triggers of atopic dermatitis differ across people and are sometimes the same as eczema triggers. While the exact reason why atopic dermatitis occurs hasn’t been found yet, here are some atopic dermatitis triggers (causes of atopic eczema).

Atopic dermatitis Treatment Explained

Leading causes of a topic dermatitis on the face 

  • Gene Mutation

A 2019 study shows that gene mutation makes some people susceptible to atopic dermatitis, especially facial atopic dermatitis. 

Atopic dermatitis may be due to a weak skin barrier caused by some gene mutation. Such atopic dermatitis patients lack a protein called filaggrin that helps the skin retain moisture. Consequently, the skin will be losing excess moisture from the epidermis. Such loss may lead to skin dryness and a weak barrier.  The skin will gradually lose the ability to protect itself against allergens, irritants, bacteria and some other environmental factors like smoke. 

  • Heredity 

Atopic dermatitis may run in the family.  Your chance of developing this condition is high if you have a family, parent, grandparents or even sibling who has this condition. It’s also likely that your kids inherit the propensity through genetic Inheritance.

Triggers of atopic dermatitis on the face 

Irritating substances 

Due to the weak skin barrier, your atopic dermatitis may flare up if it comes in contact with some harsh chemicals and materials such as;

  • Harsh bathing soap 
  • Hair shampoo 
  • Facial cleanser 
  • Fabric dye 
  • Cigarette smoke 
  • Metal

Some or all of the following allergens may also trigger an eczema flare-up. 

  • Pollen 
  • Dust 
  • Pets
  • Mould 
  • Fur

Food allergy 

Depending on your unique body system some food may trigger foods generally trigger dermatitis on the face. Foods that cause atopic dermatitis include : 

  1. Cow’s milk
  2. Soy products
  3. Gluten
  4. Eggs
  5. Nuts
  6. Fish
  7. Shellfish
  8. Sesame seed oil

Generally, these are the same set of food to avoid if you have eczema on your face.

Hormone Fluctuation 

Hormonal fluctuations may also lead to eczema breakout. Dermatitis symptoms may get worse during pregnancy or in the days leading to their period.

Climate and weather conditions

Research has speculated that there might be a link between climatic conditions and atopic dermatitis. Effects of ultraviolet light, humidity, temperature, pollens and air pollutants affect ecologies worldwide. Consequently, these environmental factors may trigger symptoms of atopic eczema.

Some atopic dermatitis patients may be allergic to a certain degree of temperature. Their triggers may vary between, too hot weather and too-old weather. Some people may experience symptoms such as itching if they are stressed or sweaty. Some patients are also allergic to high plant pollen levels that occur in warmer temperatures. Other climatic conditions that may trigger atopic dermatitis include, smoke from wildfires, mould, psychological stress and decreased biodiversity. 

Sunlight

While this condition is rare, there are situations where facial atopic dermatitis starts to transition later into a state called photosensitive dermatitis or light dermatitis. In this case, exposure to electromagnetic radiation, UV rays, visible light or even artificial light sources triggers skin reactions. Eczematous lesions arise, and the symptoms occur. 

Treatment methods for atopic dermatitis

There are no known cures for facial atopic dermatitis. In some cases, the condition disappears on its own; in others, it’s a lifelong condition. For some children, their eczema disappears during their teenage years, while some have it till adulthood before it disappears. If you have stubborn atopic dermatitis that has refused to disappear, several treatment options can help manage the symptoms and prevent it from flaring up.

  • Medical-grade Skincare Products

Medical-grade skincare products provide both aesthetic comfort and medicinal benefits. The aim is to rebuild the compromised lipid skin barrier of the face. Unlike over-the-counter products, medical-grade skincare products can reach the deeper layers of the skin. Medical-grade skin care products should only be purchased from reliable and trusted practices such as Facial Sculpting Clinic.

Clinic for Atopic Dermatitis in the UK
  • Over-the-counter medications

Topical steroids can be used to manage and relieve the symptoms of facial atopic dermatitis. But you’ll need prescriptions from a certified health professional in more severe cases. Such medication includes corticosteroid creams or gels applied topically and oral corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. As such you can book an appointment with Dr Nina Bal (Dental Surgeon), an expert in the field of dermatology and cosmetology to get a proper diagnosis and prescription.

  • Biologics 

This method of treatment is usually turned to when all others prove ineffective. Biologics are medications made from living organisms such as human cells, animal cells or microorganisms—Biologics function by influencing specific parts of the immune system to reduce inflammations and ease skin irritation.

Tips to reduce atopic dermatitis flare-ups

  • Apply cool compresses to your skin.
  • After bathing, gently dab your face with a soft towel. Do not rub to avoid aggravating the situation or causing a break in the skin. A skin breakage could lead to an infection. 
  • Moisturise your skin daily and after your bath to seal in moisture and keep the skin soft and supple rather than dry and flaky.
  • Avoid scratching your face at all times. 
  • Use a professionally prescribed topical treatment. It’s best to use what works and is advised by a knowledgeable professional.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and avoid clothing material that you’re allergic to.
  • If you are allergic to smoke and moulds, limit going outdoors when there is smoke, high pollen or mould. You can also use a face mask if you must go out. After coming from outside, shower immediately and change your clothes.
  • Avoid excess exposure to the sun and other sources of UV light. Always use your SPF before you enter the sun.
  • Reduce any activities that may lead to stress. 

FAQs on Atopic Dermatitis

How do you cure atopic dermatitis permanently?

There is no permanent cure for atopic dermatitis yet, although there is ongoing research into a permanent cure. Symptoms of facial atopic dermatitis may improve as you age. According to a 2015 research, consistent use of topical emollients like lotions, sprays or ointments may help preserve and moisturise the skin. 

How long will an episode of facial atopic dermatitis last?

Kids with this condition can expect their symptoms to stay for a few years. As they grow older, the situation might fade, and there’s a chance of recurrence. In adults, facial atopic dermatitis usually lasts longer. But with the advent of medical treatment methods and effective over-the-counter medications, the symptoms may fade after some weeks. 
Don’t expect the signs to wear off if left untreated. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition and will last for a more extended period without proper attention. It’s also best to avoid triggers that could cause a flare-up to prevent worsening the situation or causing a relapse.

What is the difference between atopic dermatitis and eczema?

Eczema is a skin inflammatory condition that causes patchy, itchy and red skin. There are several types of eczema which include  atopic dermatitis Other types of eczema included; Contact eczema, Allergic contact eczema, Seborrheic eczema, Nummular eczema, Lichen simplex chronicus (localized neurodermatitis), Stasis dermatitis, Dyshidrotic eczema or pompholyx, Xerotic eczema

Is there a cure for eczema?

No, there is no cure for eczema, but like all dermatitis conditions, treatment will help ease the symptoms and manage the situation in the best way possible. It’s best to use the medicine with and without the presence of the signs. 

Can atopic dermatitis occur with another type of dermatitis?

Yes, you can have multiple dermatitis conditions at the same time. There are different dermatitis, and more than one can co-occur. For instance, contact dermatitis, like atopic dermatitis, results from the body’s immune response to allergens. In the case of contact dermatitis, there’s usually physical contact with allergens like soap, make-up products or clothing material. This allergen contact causes a flare-up due to the immune reaction to the trigger allergen. This is a similar mode of operation for all atopic dermatitis conditions, including facial atopic dermatitis. 
Seborrheic dermatitis could likewise occur along with atopic dermatitis since they share some trigger factors such as stress, change in weather or climatic conditions and contact with certain chemicals (allergens)

Conclusion

Facial atopic dermatitis can be very uncomfortable, cause emotional distress, and affect daily activities. Patients with the condition could get sleepless nights and even be shunned socially because of their appearance. While there’s no known cure for dermatitis conditions, fortunately, several effective methods exist to alleviate the situation and ease the symptoms. 

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