A miserable type of skin condition is on the rise



Health officials say an irritating and often debilitating skin disease is on the rise in children and teens.

Dermatologists say more cases of Eczema are being diagnosed in the United States along with countries around the world.

Eczema is a broad term used to describe an irritation of the skin. It can last a life time leaving people with constant red, itchy, dry skin. It’s more scientific name is Atopic Dermatitis.

Dermatologist Sarah Baker with Ark-la-tex Dermatology said it’s extremely common and affects 15 to 20 percent of kids.

“It’s very chronic. Very frustrating for a lot of people and fortunately does tend to at least improve or go away after adolescents. But it can be a really, really tough and challenging thing for families,” Baker said.

Doctors are still working to determine why it’s on the rise in both developed and underdeveloped countries. She said it could because there’s more knowledge about the disease so there’s more children being diagnosed. But Atopic Dermatitis is not only hereditary, it could also be caused by your environment. Along with a variety of factors including stress.

“Various chemicals that people use on the skin, harsh detergents and things like that. Things that maybe we haven’t always had but are introducing,” Baker said.

She said some studies suggest it has to due with modern immune systems. Where things are too clean and kids are not being exposed to enough germs and allergens early on.

“We know that people with Atopic Dermatitis have a skin barrier that just doesn’t work like normal people. It doesn’t hold in water like it should and it lets things that shouldn’t come in,” Baker said.

Unfortunately there is no cure to the very uncomfortable condition, but treatment continues to expand with more and more options to soothe the irritation.

Doctor Baker said the best treatment is prevention and lots of products are eczema-friendly now.

But it’s important for parents to notice the condition early on, so hopefully it can get better as kids age

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