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atopic dermatitis and eczema

What is the difference between atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis?

When your child has eczema we are often so absorbed in finding the right products and introducing a skincare routine into our already busy days, we sometimes don’t know that there are different types of eczema. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, but depending on the type of eczema your child has it can be affected by different triggers in the environment. Understanding the different types of eczema can help us better manage our children’s skin.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, and happens when the immune system does not function properly and responds in an exaggerated way to an allergen or irritant inside or outside the body. It usually appears within the first six minths, especially in children with a family history of hay fever, asthma or eczema (the atopic triad). This is linked to the allergic antibody, IgE in our immune system, which reacts to foreign substances to try and get rid of irritants, and in doing so, triggers flare ups. Research has shown that people with atopic dermatitis have a mutation in the gene responsible for creating filaggrin – a protein that helps to support a protective barrier on the skin to keep irritants from entering the body. Without filaggrin, moisture can escape, and bacteria or viruses can enter, resulting in dry skin which makes skin infection more common.

Some of the common symptoms of atopic dermatitis include:

  • Redness
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Rashes on different parts of the body – especially cheeks, arms and legs
  • Open, crusted sores as well as cracks on the skin which might mean there is an infection

What makes atopic dermatitis worse?

Some of the main triggers that make atopic dermatitis worse include:

  • Warm weather – hot skin is itchy skin and sweating can feel itchy and prickly causing more scratching
  • Cold weather – skin becomes very dry, scaly and rough
  • Some household products – laundry detergent, fragranced shampoo and soaps

What is contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis happens when the skin touches irritating substances. It is an immune-mediated skin rash that occurs at the site of contact with an irritant or allergen, causing the skin to be inflamed, itchy and red. The two main types of contact dermatitis include irritant contact dermatitis, when the skin touches an irritating chemical, resulting in an immediate reaction, or allergic contact dermatitis, where the skin can take 48-96 hours to develop a reaction.

The signs and symptoms of contact dermatitis may appear similar to those of atopic dermatitis, such as itchiness, irritated dry skin, redness, burning or swelling, and blisters that may crust over.

The most common irritants include:

  • Industrial chemicals
  • Detergents and skin care products containing alcohol
  • Environmental irritants like dust
  • Tobacco smoke, fumes and paint
  • Allergens such as animal dander or pollen

How can I manage my child’s dermatitis flare ups?

Knowing what can trigger your child’s eczema helps to manage flare ups. If your child has contact dermatitis, make sure to avoid substances that cause a reaction. You can keep a record of products that trigger your child’s eczema so your more confidant of what the triggers could be, as well as reading labels of products to make sure it doesn’t contain ingredients that might cause flare ups.

For the most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, it is important to maintain a daily bathing and moisturising routine. Regular bathing using itchy baby co bath soaks cleanses the skin, washing away irritants which are sitting in the surface, as well as moisturising the skin and preparing the skin to absorb the most nourishment from moisturising for long lasting skin protection and hydration.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

managing eczema and other skin rashes

Differences between eczema and other skin rashes?

Children can be affected by many different skin rashes, whether it is a common rash or a skin condition like eczema. There are also several different types of eczema such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis and nummular eczema which can complicate understanding what signs and symptoms to look out for when looking at skin rashes.

Generally children who have eczema often have irritated, itchy and red skin on different parts of the body. Eczema flare-ups can happen anywhere on the body and the most common breakout areas are on the face, the hands and feet, as well as the inside of the elbows and behind the knees. 

While eczema and other skin rashes inflame the skin and have similar symptoms, they are quite different in other ways. Here are some common skin conditions and how they differ from eczema:

Differences between skin rashes: psoriasis and eczema

Both psoriasis and eczema rashes are red, scaly and dry, but there are important differences. Psoriasis can be thick and sometimes covered with white scales and the skin becomes very itchy and scaly. The skin remains dry and eventually flakes off. Psoriasis is generally triggered by infection, skin injury or side effects from medication and is more likely to be on the back of your child’s elbow and the front of the knees. Eczema on the other hand is usually triggered by the environment such as dust, allergens and weather change and can be seen on the inside of the arms and back of the knees.  

Differences between hives and eczema

Hives are pink or red itchy rashes, and look like blotches or raised red lumps on the skin. When hives first start to appear, they can be mistaken for mosquito bites. They can be caused by a number of reasons such as allergic reactions, food and insects, exposure to sunlight as well as viral or bacterial infections, and can appear anywhere on your body. Most cases of hives are known as acute and go away within a few hours, or sometimes a few days or weeks. Hives are generally not due to allergy and they can be effectively treated with a antihistamine.

Differences between cradle cap and eczema

Cradle cap is a skin condition that most commonly affects babies under three months. It is a form of dermatitis which causes the oil glands in the skin to become inflamed. This inflammation causes the thick, yellow crusts. It generally stops after the baby is about three months old because at this age the oil glands become inactive until puberty. If your baby has signs of cradle cap after three months it might be eczema which is affecting the scalp.

Managing your child’s rashes for healthy skin

A healthy skin barrier is important for managing most skin conditions and the best way to keep your child’s skin healthy is by adding moisture to the skin to help prevent dryness and itchiness which can also help to strengthen the skin’s barrier to prevent allergens and irritants inflaming the skin.  Always keep the skin as moisturised as possible by maintaining your child’s regular skin care routine. If your child has a rash and you are unsure what type of rash it is, see your doctor to ensure you have the right management plan.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

what i sthe difference between eczema and hives

What is the difference between eczema and hives?

Hives and eczema are two skin conditions which often get confused. Being a parent we are confronted by many different challenges. Children’s skin can be affected by different types of conditions and some of them can look very similar. As allergies and immune system irregularities become more and more common many of us will also need to manage how the skin responds to allergens as part of our childrens body’s immune response.

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Are eczema and dermatitis the same thing?

What is the difference between eczema and dermatitis?

The words eczema and dermatitis often are used to talk about the same condition of itchy, dry, inflamed and irritated skin.  So what is the difference between them or are they the same?

The answer is simple, eczema is one form of of dermatitis. And because it is the most common form, it is often used as a general term for all the different types of dermatitis.

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