Atopic dermatitis or eczema  is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
 Causes--The exact cause of atopic dermatitis (eczema) is unknown. Healthy skin helps retain moisture and protects you from bacteria, irritants and allergens. Eczema is likely related to a mix of factors:
·         Dry, irritable skin, which reduces the skin's ability to be an effective barrier
·         A gene variation that affects the skin's barrier function
·         Immune system dysfunction
·         Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, on the skin that creates a film that blocks sweat glands
·         Environmental conditions

Symptoms--Eczema signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person and include:
·         Itching, which may be severe, especially at night
·         Red to brownish-gray patches, especially on the hands, feet, ankles, wrists, neck, upper chest, eyelids, inside the bend of the elbows and knees, and, in infants, the face and scalp
·         Small, raised bumps, which may leak fluid and crust over when scratched
·         Thickened, cracked, dry, scaly skin
·         Raw, sensitive, swollen skin from scratching
Risk factors--Factors that put people at increased risk of developing the condition include:
·         A personal or family history of eczema, allergies, hay fever or asthma
·         Being a health care worker, which is linked to hand dermatitis
Risk factors for children include:
·         Living in urban areas
·         Being African-American
·         Having parents with a high level of education
·         Attending child care
·         Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Complications--Complications of atopic dermatitis (eczema) include:
Asthma and hayfever. Eczema sometimes precedes these conditions.
Chronic itchy, scaly skin. A skin condition called neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus) starts with a patch of itchy skin. You scratch the area, which makes it even itchier. Eventually, you may scratch simply out of habit. This condition can cause the affected skin to become discolored, thick and leathery.
Skin infections. Repeated scratching that breaks the skin can cause open sores and cracks. These increase your risk of infection from bacteria and viruses, including the herpes simplex virus
Eye problems. Signs and symptoms of eye complications include severe itching around the eyelids, eye watering, inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis) and inflammation of the eyelid (conjunctivitis).
Irritant hand dermatitis. This especially affects people whose work requires that their hands are often wet and exposed to harsh soaps, detergents and disinfectants.
Allergic contact dermatitis. This condition is common in patients with atopic dermatitis. Many substances can cause an allergic skin reaction, including corticosteroids, drugs often used to treat people with atopic dermatitis.
Sleep problems. The itch-scratch cycle can cause you to awaken repeatedly and decrease the quality of your sleep.
Behavioral problems. Studies show a link between atopic dermatitis and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, especially if a child is also losing sleep

Homoeopathic remedies are very effective for curing atopic dermatitis but ir requires care selection and observation. Some of the top remedies are given below

SULPHUR 200-Sulphur is one of the top remedies for atopic dermatitis with dry scaly skin and severe itching. The itching is worse at night and gets warm in bed. The itching is accompanied or followed by great heated sensation. The skin is dirty and unhealthy.Sulphur patients have a marked aversion to bathing.Sulphur persons have a peculiar craving for sweets. Sulphur is effective for the relapse of atopic dermatitis in the spring season or in damp weather. It is also indicated for atopic dermatitis resulting from the abuse of local medications like ointments or any other form of external medication.

GRAPHITES 200—Graphites another excellent remedy for atopic dermatitis that appears in folds of skin. The folds include elbow bend, knee bend, area behind ear, groin and neck. There is either rawness with itching or there may be eruptions in folds with discharges. The peculiar character of discharge is glue –like sticky in nature.

RHUS TOXICODENDRON 30-Rhus tox is best for atopic dermatitis with asthmatic complaints. It is prescribed where the skin is either reddened with severe itching or filled with vesicular eruptions on skin.Marked burning and scaling of the skin may  also present.In Rhus tox the complaints are mainly seen in wet, rainy weather.

MEZEREUM 200-Mezereum is an effective remedy for atopic dermatitis with weeping eruptions on scalp. There is thick scab formation on scalp under which collects thick pus.The hair becomes mattered due to thick discharges.The discharges are highly offensive in nature and may lead to vermin breeding. Severe itching and burning  mainly at night is marked.

ANAGALLIS ARVENSIS 3X—Anagallis is effective for dermatitis of fingers and palm. Palms especially affected.The symptoms are appearance of vesicles in groups with itching and a tingling sensation in it.

NATRUM MURIATICUM 200-Natrum mur is best for atopic dermatitis with eruptions along the hairline. The eruptions are dry with rawness of skin along the margin of scalp.Dry eruptions appear in bends of elbow and hollow of knee. There is crusting along the hairline.Warmth and heat worsen the condition. The Nat mur patients have a special craving for salt.

KALI SULPHURICUM 30-Kalisulphuricum is prescribed when there are itching and burning on the affected part with excessive peeling of epithelium occurs. After the epithelium peel , a moist , yellow coloured base remains on the skin.

LYCOPODIUM CLAVATUM 200-Lycopodium is effective for atopic dermatitis where hard, indurated skin with cracks is present.Bleeding also occurs. Lycopodium patients have gastric problems and a craving for sweets. They prefer hot food and drinks.The complaints worse between 4-8 pm.

PETROLEUM 200-Petroleum is best for atopic dermatitis where the skin gets thickened, dried up and is covered with crusts, mainly green in colour. Fissures and cracks with bleeding is also present. All complaints are worse in winter.

PIX LIQUIDA 30-Pix liquida is best for eruptions on back of hands. Deep cracks and bleeding occurs. Intense itching also present.

CROTON TIG. 30- Ctroton tig is prescribed when eruptions are found on genitals and testes.

GALPHIMIA GLAUCA 30 and HISTAMINUM 30—Galphimia glauca and Histaminum is best for atopic dermatitis where allergic rhinitis is present.

HEPARSULPHURIS 30-Hepar sulph is another effective medicine for moist atopic dermatitis with itching in the folds of skin.After scratching , pimples form on the skin. Dermatitis is worse during cold dry winds and better in damp rainy weather and warmth. It is also effective eruptions on genitals and scrotum.

SEPIA OFFICINALIS 200- Sepia officinalis is an effective remedy for atopic dermatitis in circular spots in isolated places.Sepia is effective for dry dermatitis in bends of joints of elbow and knees.There is violent itching eruptions but no relief from scratching. The itching is worse from cold air exposure.The skin is dry with cracks in it.Sepia is also effective for women of menopausal age suffering from dermatitis.

STAPHYSAGRIA 30-Staphysagria is prescribed for dermatitis when scratching location of itching changes. Staphysagria is effective for dermatitis of head, ears , face and body.Thick dry scales which itch violently.

STREPTOCOCCINUM 1000-Streptococcinum is effective for reappearance of dermatitis after cure. Scratching gives pleasure.

VINCA MINOR 30-Vinca minor is effective for atopic dermatitis of scalp where itching is accompanied by an irresistible desire to scratch. After scratching moisture exudes from the scalp, resulting in matting up of the hair.

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