The skin in the Spring
Spring and atopic skin
Spring is here! And like every year, in the spring “are in fashion” the allergies. Although we normally associate allergies to breathing problems, it is not surprising the cutaneous affectation in people with sensitive skin.
In the spring the number of cases of allergies in the skin increases because the aeroallergens that can exacerbate dermatitis predominate. The air is full of odd substances for our immunologic detector system, such us dust, pollen, hair, feathers, parasites of animals, insects and other toxics as chemical products; apart from the daily environmental pollution, all together is a large group of irritating agents for our sensitive skin.
In humidity or high temperature conditions they can also proliferate fungus that irritate our skin and mucosa, generating cutaneous and breathing allergies.
Although the most frequent allergies are those of ocular and respiratory mucosa, dermatitis is of high prevalence, highlighting dry skin, itching, erythema, scaling and scabs (secondary to scratching) predominantly in exposed areas, folds and contact areas.
Eczema is the most common skin condition, especially in children. It affects one in five infants but only one in fifty adults. Nowadays it is believed to be due to the “permeability” of the cutaneous barrier which causes it to dry up and be prone to irritation and inflammation by many environmental factors. In addition, some people with eczema have a food sensitivity that can worsen the symptoms of eczema.
In almost half of the patients with serious atopic dermatitis, the illness is due to an inherited defective gene in the skin called filaggrin. Unlike what happens with urticarial (hives) the itching of the eczema is not caused by a histamine so the antihistamines do not control the symptoms. Eczema is often associated with asthma, rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergies.
This progressive sequence is called “atopy”.
In its non-contagious but annoying and sometimes painful nature, atopic dermatitis usually occurs in 2 phases: an inactive phase in which the skin is very dry, irritable and scaly, having to be hydrated daily, and an active phase (or "outbreak") in which the skin has to be treated with topical medications to soothe inflammation and relieve itching.
As general measures, avoid all known agents that can trigger or worsen outbreaks of atopic dermatitis: dusty environments, carpets, contact with wool, alkaline and irritating soaps, extreme temperatures.