atopic dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis (or AD for short) is a chronic condition, where you develop areas of inflamed, itchy, dry skin.  The word “dermatitis” means conditions related to the skin, while the word “atopic” means that it’s caused by an allergic reaction.  AD symptoms usually come and go, with more intense phases called flare-ups.  These flare-ups can be excruciatingly irritating and can lead to scratching and frustration.  But scratching the affected skin can make AD symptoms worse, by causing more inflammation and infections.  Read on to find out more about atopic dermatitis and how Chinese Medicine can help you treat it.

Types of Atopic Dermatitis:

AD is often confused with eczema.  But eczema refers to a group of skin conditions, while AD is a specific condition.  In fact, atopic dermatitis is actually a type of eczema.  While all types of eczema cause itchy, red skin, atopic dermatitis is the most severe.  The other six main types of eczema are:

atopic dermatitis
  • Contact Dermatitis: Caused by contact with skin irritants.
  • Hand Eczema: Caused by contact with chemicals and only affects your hands.
  • Stasis Dermatitis: Irritation (especially in the lower legs) due to poor circulation.
  • Neurodermatitis: Thick patches of skin that form due to repeated scratching.
  • Dyshidrotic Eczema: Affects your fingers, palms, and the soles of your feet.
  • Nummular Eczema: Causes itchy, coin-sized spots.

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms:

What symptoms will you experience if you have atopic dermatitis?  Most people who suffer from AD will have itchy, dry skin.  This itchy skin can often deteriorate into a red rash during flare ups.  It is also common for the affected skin to change colour, or to become thick, rough, leathery, or scaly.

The creases of the inner elbows and knees are areas where rashes commonly appear.  But AD rashes may also develop on your face, neck, and scalp.  While atopic dermatitis affects many children, the condition sometimes goes away with age.  AD may disappear completely, or in other cases it may reappear later in life.

atopic dermatitis

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

Are you tired of tolerating the itchiness and frustration that AD brings?  The good news is, we can treat skin problems like atopic dermatitis at our Chinese Medicine clinic, Centre of Balance.  Using natural, effective treatments like acupuncture and Chinese herbs, our team of skilled and experienced Chinese Medicine practitioners will soon get you back to an itch-free life.  

You may be wondering, “Where’s the evidence?”  So here are some results from scientific studies, showing that acupuncture can effectively treat atopic dermatitis.  These researchers found that, “Although more research is needed, acupuncture’s use in cutaneous medicine is promising in the area of itch modulation, in treating atopic dermatitis and herpes zoster pain, and in promoting wound healing.”

Another study found that, “After a full course of 12 treatment sessions, lesions and pruritus completely disappeared. In this case study, patients were checked at regular intervals and no recurrence was reported for up to 18 months post-treatment.”

For more information about Chinese Medicine and skin problems, click here.


Atopic dermatitis is an irritating condition which appears as itchy, dry rashes on the skin.  AD is also the most severe type of eczema when compared to other types such as hand eczema or nummular eczema.  The symptoms of AD tend to arise in phases called flare-ups, which may involve rashes, thicker or scaly skin, or discolouration.  Chinese Medicine is a great treatment option for AD.

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