Treating atopic dermatitis: can it improve or disappear?

Atopic-prone skin, also called atopic dermatitis, affects one child in five.1, but atopic doesn’t mean atypical. If the signs of this eczema are unpleasant (redness, itching sensations, dryness, etc.), they are not rare, nor contagious to other children, and not irreversible.

Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist & member of the Mustela experts' circle.

Different factors at stake

The good thing about atopic-prone skin is that it appears very early on and tends to abate with age and even disappear. But when? It depends on the sensitivity of your child’s skin. It will also depend on regular daily care, and on your child’s environment and activities in periods of crisis as much as in periods of respite. These periods of respite will work in your favour. They do not mean that the symptoms have disappeared, but caring for the skin on a day-to-day basis is essential, and prevention is crucial. You should put all the chances on your side. 
 

Development and flare-ups of atopic-prone skin

A few general observations:
 
• The first signs of an atopic-prone skin can appear from 2 months onwards, sometimes even before. Until the age of one, it will mostly appear on chubby areas: chin, cheeks, arms, belly, and so on. They can also be found on calves and feet. At this age, atopic-prone skin can also show flare-ups, especially when your child starts teething and when nasopharynx infections appear.
 
After the age of one, atopic-prone skin may appear elsewhere on the body. It may disappear from chubby areas to surface in skin folds: elbows, legs, neck, back of the knees, wrists, etc., and even behind the ears, a particular site for rashes.

• By the age of three or four, it will continue to appear in skin folds but also on hands and face, around the mouth and on the eyelids. However, flare-ups may start to fade. 

• By the age of five or six, it may have all vanished! Large eczema flare-ups may disappear even if your child’s skin remains very dry, which is why it will still need to be treated with special care.
 
Will you have to wait until your child reaches the age of reason? Who knows? Against all expectations, eczema may disappear much earlier, around the age of two, or after several months. On the other hand, it can endure until puberty or, more rarely, continue as an adult. Why? We don’t know yet. We just know that it will not be linked to the treatment used. One thing is sure, it eventually fades. One last piece of good news? Even if flare-ups are severe and regular, they won’t leave any marks on the skin!
 

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