O atopic dermatitis is a skin disease of the allergic type, characterized by the presence of chronic itching or itching, with episodes of multiple exacerbations and remissions that manifest in different periods of the patient's life.

In Chile, 3 out of 10 people suffer from this condition, which mainly affects children with a history of family atopy. "Approximately 60% of cases manifest themselves before the first year of life, and 85% of them before five," explains the dermatologist at Vespucio Clinic, Dr. Cristián González.

Minors often have a more intense pruritus, which can lead to bacterial superinfections of the skin. To avoid this, the specialist emphasizes the importance of educating both the patient and his entire family about the difficult and prolonged course of this pathology.

"Its exact cause is still unknown and there is no cure, but the treatment can reduce the symptoms in order to provide the patient, especially the child, with a better quality of life," adds the dermatologist.

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With this aim in mind, we must first identify and, where possible, avoid the specific triggers of outbreaks of atopic dermatitis. In addition, Dr. González recommends:

– Prefer loose cotton clothing and avoid tight clothing with synthetic or woolen components.
– Wash clothing with white soap or hypoallergenic detergents and avoid the use of softeners.
– Avoid very hot and dry places.
– Control emotional stress.
– The bathroom should be short, daily, with warm water and use soap replacements or neutral soaps.
– The drying should be smooth and without rubbing excessively the skin.
– Daily and frequent hydration of the skin with hypoallergenic products.

Can it be avoided?

Some research has shown that atopic dermatitis is a disease that arises from the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. "It's a change in the epidermal barrier, which leads to an increase in the loss of water in the skin and allows the penetration of environmental and food allergens," explains the specialist. This allows the release of inflammatory cytokines, which triggers the tendency of these patients to scratch the skin intensely.

Likewise, these people also tend to develop jointly or in their home environment other allergic conditions, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis, which usually coexist in what is called an atopic diathesis.


In the current treatment of itching, you can use various types of antihistamines that should be prescribed by a dermatologist as well as topical corticosteroids for the treatment of specific skin lesions that should be used for short periods. "When there is bacterial superinfection, you can also add antibiotics in cream or ointments," says the dermatologist.

In more severe cases, with little response to topical treatments, systemic procedures such as the use of oral corticosteroids, immunomodulators or phototherapy treatments are available.

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