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Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) (syn. atopic eczema, neurodermatitis) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by intense itching and rashes on the skin. This is one of the most common skin diseases as there is a constantly growing number of disease cases, especially in economically developed countries. It is estimated that the incidence of AD can be up to 20 % among children and up to 3 % amongst adults.

Why do we catch atopic dermatitis?
The occurrence of the disease is determined by a genetic predisposition (if someone in the family suffers from allergic diseases - allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic dermatitis – the risk is higher); altered immune response of the skin to internal and external stimuli, and skin changes (congenital dryness, sensitivity to stimuli, impaired protective function).

The environmental factors that may provoke a rash could be the following:
stress, various organism diseases, microorganisms dust, cigarette smoke, chemical irritants, too high or too low temperature, dry air, animal hair, feathers, a few food products, drugs, or other allergens.

What are the symptoms of atopic dermatitis?
The main symptoms are the following: dry and flaky skin, itchiness and rashes that appear because of scratching. Skin becomes red in the place where rash is developed with cracks and crusts and it even may get soggy. Long scratching of the skin makes it thicker and flaky. Rash can occur anywhere on the body of infants and toddlers, but most of the time it appears on the face (cheeks) as well as in bending areas of arms and legs. The elderly are exposed to rashes on parts of the body that have the most contact with the environment – the face, neck, hands, knees and elbow bends.

How is atopic dermatitis established?
A doctor determines the disease by examining and questioning the patient. There are no specific examinations to determine AD. Allergy tests are performed only if it is suspected that a person is allergic to any substance.

How is atopic dermatitis treated?
Atopic dermatitis treatment consists of two parts - daily skin care and treatment of exacerbations using medicines. If the rash increases or it persists, your doctor can prescribe medicines. In case of mild AD, when the rash is not widespread, ointments with corticosteroids or immunomodulators are prescribed to treat it. If the skin is soggy and scratched, then, alcohol-free disinfectants, or oral antibiotics, or antibiotic creams are prescribed. Patients with moderate to severe atopic eczema can be given a light treatment (phototherapy), oral corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs.

How should you take care of your skin?
Since people with atopic eczema tend to have dry skin because of the inherited changes, it is more vulnerable. Thus, it is very important to care about your skin. It is advisable to wash the skin with clean warm water avoiding hot water. After each washing you should lubricate skin with moisturizing creams or lotions (emollients) within the first 3 minutes. Emollients must be applied on a daily basis all over the body skin, not just in the place of a rash. While taking a bath, it is recommended to use bath remedies for dry skin without soap, flavoring or coloring agents.

Bear in mind that the disease can be controlled if you:

1. find out about it as much as possible;
2. care about the skin;
3. avoid provocative factors;
4. regularly consult your doctor and follow his instructions.

Our advantages
  • Experienced specialists who work in university hospitals.
  • You can choose the most convenient time for you when procedures should be carried out.
  • We avoid the conveyor effect (we dedicate as much time as it is needed). This way better acquaintance with the problem and more effective treatment are expected.

Eczema school is organized in the Center of Dermatovenereology at Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Klinikos. Its purpose - to familiarize ill people and their families with basic ways of treatment of atopic eczema as well as deepen knowledge about the disease. You can register for Eczema school at the reception of Center of Dermatovenereology at Vilnius University Hospital Santariskiu Klinikos, phone number: (8 5) 265 8534, (8 5) 272 0434 or using e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .