What is atopic skin and how to care for it?

Atopic skin suffers from what is more precisely called atopic dermatitis. It is an inflammatory skin disease, which can start in early childhood. Very common, its causes nevertheless remain mysterious. How best to treat and soothe it?

Definition of atopic skin in adults and babies

Atopic dermatitis, what is it?

Atopic skin can cover several types of epidermal pathologies. In its first definition, it is a disease as such. This is otherwise called atopic dermatitis.

It particularly affects babies, usually around 3 months but sometimes earlier. One in ten children is affected.

Its origin is genetic in a large part of the cases, more than 50%. However, the real causes of such predetermination are unknown. Babies or people who suffer from it have in all cases a predisposed epidermal terrain.

There is also evidence that people who have atopic dermatitis face other pathologies. They are often affected by asthma, seasonal allergies (rhinitis), and even food allergies.

There are also skins with atopic tendencies. This broad meaning of the term refers to very sensitive skin that suffers in adulthood from diffuse attacks. Whether patches of dryness and flaking, or outbreaks of eczema or hives, but limited. 

Stress can also be an important factor in atopic attacks of this type. All these skin diseases, therefore, fall into the category of atopic skin in the broad sense of the term.


Atopic dermatitis is defined by localized but significant outbreaks of eczema. This generates irritation and itching. 

Scratching intensifies the irritation and leads to a veritable painful vicious circle. This goes through the formation of blisters, oozing, then scabs. These lesions can be the source of entry of bacteria and cause the secondary infection.

In general, the affected epidermis no longer plays its role as a barrier against external aggressions. So much so that the skin becomes porous, allowing allergenic molecules and infections to pass through. Hence the appearance of certain sometimes serious microbial complications, or even fungi.

To be defined as atopic, skin is not only dry or sensitive. This disease really refers to extremely dry, irritated skin, whose attacks come in flare-ups. They are also intolerant to many products and develop intense skin allergies.

Atopic skin is therefore a real health problem that, without being serious at first, deteriorates the quality of life. When you have tight, painful, itchy skin, it’s hard to live peacefully.

In babies, however, atopic dermatitis can lead to more serious lesions. Especially when it touches the eye area. In the majority of cases, however, the atopic skin of babies finds a favorable outcome, without complications. So that, around 5 or 6 years, atopic dermatitis can completely disappear.

Soothe and treat atopic skin

In the baby

In the case of atopic dermatitis in the baby, the pediatrician will take care of two aspects: increase the hydration of the skin and treat the inflammation. Skin dryness is thus treated with suitable moisturizing or emollient creams (which soften the tissues). Inflammation is treated with topical corticosteroid ointments.

For the bath, soaps, which are too drying, are totally prohibited. Doctors may recommend a bath oil instead, for example.

In adults

In the same way, as in children, adults must undergo medical treatment in the event of significant atopic dermatitis. It concerns above all the appeasement of the affected areas during the crises and the care of the inflammations to avoid complications.

Outside and during these periods, it is essential to moisturize your skin daily with creams of the right composition. Avoid those that are mainly composed of mineral oil, derived from petrochemicals. 

These moisturize the skin superficially. Better to move towards creams with plant active ingredients, vegetable oils in particular, which nourish in depth. In any case, before buying a moisturizer, test it beforehand to avoid any allergic reactions.

When seizures occur in times of stress, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor. A consultation focused on psychology, or even an appointment with a specialist can help you reduce your stress and your crises.

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