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What’s the difference between itchy skin and Atopic Dermatitis?

  • Atopic Dermatitis or AD refers to chronic inflammation of the skin
  • Atopic Dermatitis is also known as eczema 
  • Itchy skin can turn into atopic dermatitis if it becomes severe, but having itchy skin is not always an indication that you have eczema
What’s the difference between itchy skin and Atopic Dermatitis?

Itchy Skin vs. Atopic Dermatitis (or eczema)

What is itchy skin?

Itchy skin is often dry skin, which feels tight and tingly due to lack of moisture. It can be a mere discomfort or develop into something more serious like eczema.

The key to managing dry itchy skin is to keep it well nourished. Switch your skincare routine up a gear, and apply moisturiser daily - both to the face and body. Remember, the best time to apply body lotion is after a shower, when your skin is at its most absorbent and receptive to moisture. La Roche Posay Lipikar Lait is the perfect partner, helping to rebuild the skin’s barrier as well as offering an ‘anti-itch’ formula with niacinamide, shea butter and canola oil. Even better, it provides 48 hour hydration meaning no need to reapply several times a day. An instant soothing solution for itchy skin!

What is eczema?

Eczema is when skin becomes extremely itchy or inflamed, blistering, weeping, cracking, or even bleeding. While itchy skin can be caused by weather changes, temperature changes or allergens for those with sensitive skins, eczema can have similar triggers but goes a step further.

Eczema is common in children, often seen in the first six months to five years of a child’s life. It’s often seen on the face (cheeks or chin), as well as around the elbows, and/or knees. Luckily, a majority of children affected by eczema grow out of it, however for others it can carry on through adulthood.

Adults can also develop eczema, triggered by any number of allergens ranging from clothing to detergents, or temperatures – like with itchy, dry skin, developing a more intense skin irritation.

Eczema includes atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, hand eczema, neurodermatitis, nummular eczema and stasis dermatitis.

It’s important to treat or manage eczema to minimise discomfort, stop scratching and reduce chances of infection.

What is Atopic dermatitis?

A type of eczema, atopic dermatitis is commonly dubbed ‘eczema.’ Chronic and inflammatory, put simply, it’s due to an overreaction of the immune system when faced with something it doesn’t like.
Symptoms of atopic dermatitis include dry, scaly skin, redness, itching, cracked skin, rashes on cheeks, arms or legs, and open weeping sores.

Why do you get eczema or AD?

Exact causes aren’t clear. Most likely, it’s a mix of genes and environmental factors. Flare ups, as breakouts are called in the eczema world, tend to occur when triggers are present but they vary from person to person.

A few interesting eczema facts

  • Eczema is not contagious!
  • Approximately 10% of the world’s population deals with atopic dermatitis at some point in their lifetime.
  • 1 in every 5 children are affected by eczema in the UK
  • Approximately 60% of children with atopic eczema are eczema free by their teens.

How can I treat eczema or AD?

It’s more a case of identifying triggers and managing eczema, than treating it per say. The more you know about what sets your eczema off, the better you can avoid it.

Step 1 : Identify your triggers

Check the following to see if they are the cause of your flare ups:

  • irritant clothing such as wool, abrasive materials and non breathable textiles
  • harsh detergents, fragranced soaps or gels
  • dust
  • pollution
  • temperature changes or excesses
  • over bathing which can dry out skin
  • food allergens

Step 2: Get into the right routine

Pick products which are as simple as possible – without fragrances, parabens or alcohol and are PH balanced such as the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Range. It’s fragrance free and repairs the skin barrier, soothing the skin and reducing inflammation.

Step 3: Keep hydrated and moisturised

Always make sure skin is moisturised with an emollient or moisturiser – apply just after bathing for best results.