Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. The condition is more common in children, however may also develop for the first time in adults.
Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body. Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
People with atopic eczema often have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe (flare-ups).
What causes atopic eczema?
The quick answer is; we don’t really know. It is generally accepted however that it’s not down to one specific thing. Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies, with ‘atopic’ meaning sensitivity to allergens.
Atopic eczema may run in the family and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma or hay fever. The symptoms often have certain triggers, including soaps, detergents, stress, food and even the weather!
How many people are affected?
A study in 2015 found that atopic eczema now affects around 20% of pre-school age children and continues to rise.1 This number correlates with figures from the British Skin Foundation, who claim 1 in every 5 children in the UK is affected by eczema at some stage.2 The same study also estimated that up to 75% of older people are diagnosed with clinically significant dry skin, highlighting that it is not just an issue affecting children.
How can it be treated?
Whilst there is no cure, a variety of treatments exist to help ease the symptoms, including:
- Emollients/Moisturisers applied daily to prevent the skin from becoming dry
- Topical corticosteroid creams and ointments to help reduce swelling and redness
- Topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus for eczema in sensitive sites not responding to simpler treatment
- Antihistamines for severe itching
ComfiFast™ Easywrap™ garments are designed to fit each area of the body; ranging from a clava for the head through to socks for the feet, providing an ideal solution for covering the skin when using steroids, heavy emollients or ointments.
Using MultiStretch™ technology, the garments stretch in the radial, longitudinal and diagonal directions for increased freedom of movement and improved comfort.Discover more here.
What is Wet Wrapping?
- The skin is bathed and dried before applying steroid creams and emollients.
- A wet layer of ComfiFast™ is then placed over the limbs and body to keep skin hydrated.
- A second, dry layer of ComfiFast™ is then added to keep clothes dry and prevent scratching.
Benefits of Wet Wrapping
- Creates a physical barrier, protecting skin from outside elements (e.g. friction from clothes, scratching, etc.).
- Holds emollients and medications against the skin, reducing the frequency of re-application.
- Cools the skin as the moisture evaporates - especially beneficial in hot weather.
- Reduces itching, helping to improve sleep and increase comfort during the day.
“When used as part of a holistic treatment plan, wet wrapping therapy using ComfiFast™ Easywrap™ garments can be a powerful tool in managing severe atopic eczema. Specific benefits included the ability to treat the condition at home, relieving the patient’s symptoms and helping to break the itch-scratch-cycle.”
Further information and support is available via the National Eczema Society website
- Nutten S (2015) Atopic Dermatitis: Global Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 66(suppl 1):8–16
- British Skin Foundation (2019) https://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/eczema
BBC News (2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7955312.stm