The skin – is the largest organ of the human, having a surface area of ~2 m2. Its weight is 3-4 kg and this constitute ~ 6-7 percent of the body weight. Skin surface is slightly acidic – pH 4.7. Such pH prevents the accumulation of bacteria on the skin, which can lead to the skin inflammation.
The skin performs several important functions in our body:
- A barrier (protective) – protects the internal organs from various stimuli (chemicals, ultraviolet rays) and microbes. Skin barrier consists of epithelium and the hydrolipidic film.
- Is involved in the immune processes – the skin contains immune system cells; therefore, the allergic and inflammatory reactions are shown on the skin.
- Thermoregulatory – skin releases the sweat and thus helps to regulate the temperature of the body.
- Produces vitamin D.
- Secretory function – skin releases fat, sweat, as well as the unnecessary substances for the organism together with them.
- Function of resorption – various substances, as well as the medications, are absorbed through the skin.
- Sensory organ.
- Aesthetic function.
The epidermis (top layer of skin) of the infants and children skin is thinner; therefore, the skin is more vulnerable, it is more sensitive than the skin of the adults, the sweat and sebaceous glands are less-developed, it is more permeable, and is more affected by the sun rays. Due to the aforementioned reasons, the skin is more vulnerable and more likely to dry out. The dryness of the skin is determined by the various internal and external factors (dry ambient weather, strong wind, heat, cold, ultraviolet rays, improper skin care, contact with irritants), which disrupt the barrier function of the skin epidermis. The dry skin becomes rough, uneven, has a disordered pattern, redness, is scaling, itching. Later it loses the elasticity, integrity, the skin becomes cracked and through these cracks various environmental substances, allergens, and pathogens can enter causing inflammation. The dry and damaged skin is more permeable to the different sensitizing chemicals which can cause the allergic contact dermatitis. Through the damaged skin the patients suffering from the atopic dermatitis can become sensitized to the respirable allergens (for example: house dust mites) which can stimulate the development of asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema) – is a chronic skin disease causing the inflammation. It is characterized by dry skin, itching, flaking, redness, fatigue, and sleep disorders. It can emerge for children, as well as for adults. Most often the atopic dermatitis begins in early childhood and as the child grows, the symptoms may decrease or even disappear. The exact causes are unclear, the interaction of the genetic, immunological, and environmental factors are of great importance to the emergence of the disease. The barrier function of the skin of the patients suffering from atopic dermatitis is always impaired, thus, the skin becomes permeable to bacteria, allergens, and other irritants.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease; therefore, the skin care should be taken regularly. i.e. for restoring the protective layer and moisture balance of the skin, as well for soothing the redness and itching of the skin:
- To apply the skin care products for dry skin which are appropriate for the skin of the patients with atopic dermatitis and has no fragrances, dyes, and irritating substances.
- Regularly moisturize the skin with emollients. Emollients – are the skin care products, which intensively moisturize the skin and restore its barrier function. They are also characterized by the properties soothing the itching and inflammation. Emollients should be applied even on the skin without the rashes, at least 2 times a day. However, if the skin is very dry, it may be necessary to apply 3-4 or even more times per day. Only a sufficient amount of emollients give the desired effect. If your skin is very dry, for moisturizing the entire body multiple times a day for a week may be needed: for the infant - up to 250 g, for the child - up to 500 g of emollients. After bathing, the skin should be moisturized with emollients within 3 minutes.
- You can bath every day; however, for the short periods (5-10 min.); moreover, you should use lukewarm water. The skin should be dried with a towel without rubbing and applied with emollient within 3 minutes.
- Avoid skin irritating clothing - wool, synthetic fabrics.
- Avoid allergens - if the allergologist has diagnosed food allergy - avoid these products, if you are diagnosed with allergies for environmental or contact allergens - avoid the contact with them.
The locally acting anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors) are used for the treatment of the atopic dermatitis where treatment with emollients alone is ineffective. These drugs are characterized by inflammation-lowering effect and should be applied to the affected skin areas. Use these medicines as directed by your doctor. When local treatment is not effective, your doctor may prescribe systemic (oral or intravenous) drugs.
Allergic contact dermatitis – is the inflammatory skin disease that results in the place of the direct exposure to the allergen. This dermatitis may be caused by metals, cosmetics, preservatives, and etc. For the diagnostics of the allergic contact dermatitis, the skin patch tests are used. During the treatment, the contact with the allergen must be avoided, the skin must be applied with emollients, and the locally acting anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors) must be used for reducing of inflammation.
Urticaria – is a group of diseases characterized by the rash with blisters, as well as itching. The swelling (angioedema) of the deeper layers of skin may also occur. From 12 to 23.5 percent of the people suffers from Urticaria at least once in a lifetime. Urticaria is not always related to the allergy. The acute urticaria (when the rash lasts up to 6 weeks.) is more common between the children and is usually related to the infectious diseases. If acute urticaria occurred for the first time the life, testing is not required. If urticaria is chronic (lasts more than 6 weeks) it should be tested regarding the possible provoking factors (physical factors, chronic infections, thyroid pathology, and other diseases). In the 80 percent of the cases, the cause of chronic urticaria remains unclear. Urticaria is treated by removing the provoking factors and with the antihistamines of the second generation (the new ones). You can find the further information about urticaria in this article: Urticaria - causes, symptoms and Treatment..
Allergologist ir clinical immunologint