A recent study suggests that children with atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema, should also be tested for allergic reactions as they may have a second allergic-type eczema known as allergic contact dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis usually develops by the age of 5 and is characterized by inflamed, irritated, and itchy skin. Allergic contact dermatitis has similar symptoms but can be triggered by exposure to a range of substances.
The study found that children with atopic dermatitis were more likely to test positive for allergies in patch testing. This type of testing is designed to identify substances that may be irritating the skin. Senior study author Dr. JiaDe (Jeff) Yu, an assistant professor of adult and pediatric dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, explains, “Sometimes these kids could have allergic contact dermatitis, but the only way to tell is through patch testing.”
It is important to diagnose and treat allergic contact dermatitis as it can become more severe over time. Liz Schoeben, a patient with atopic dermatitis, discovered through patch testing that she was also allergic to six different substances, including common ingredients found in skincare products. Schoeben had been unknowingly using these products for years, which were causing her allergic reactions. Identifying and avoiding substances that trigger the allergic reaction is the most effective way to treat allergic contact dermatitis.
Treatment options for atopic dermatitis include topical steroids, phototherapy, biologics, and JAK inhibitors. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as using fragrance-free products can help alleviate symptoms. It is recommended that individuals with eczema test new skincare products on a small patch of skin before widespread use.
Overall, it is crucial for individuals with eczema to consult a dermatologist as they may have both atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis simultaneously. By identifying and treating the allergic component, the overall management of eczema can be more effective.
Source: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology