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Atopic Dermatitis: Is There A Cure For This Disease?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Atopic Dermatitis is a chronic disease that may appear during childhood, and it’s more common in people with a family history with it.  In some cases, like mine, it accompanies a problem with self esteem. It’s hard to see some bruises in our skin, which sometimes hurts a little. 

To share an experience, I’ll tell you about my familiarity with dermatitis, which has been with me since I was little.

When I was 11 years old, my mother started to notice some white spots in the bends of my legs, arms and ears. The attention redoubles when these spots started to itch. 

That way, my visits to consultations with dermatologists started to be more frequent. Partially, this problem was resolved with the use of an ointment, but in the future it will become another problem for me. 

The ointment I started to use gave me a lot of markings on my skin, it was like a white marking. I was growing up, and this point was bothering me so much because I noticed that it was affecting my self-esteem, so I decided to stop with medications. For a period, the white spots disappeared, so I thought I was free for this situation. 

In 2019, when I was 14 years old, in the middle of the year, I went on a trip with my parents to Chile, and had to wear a lot of clothes because of the weather. In the first week, I noticed that the bend of my right arm had an injury and it was so strange to see. At that moment, I didn’t have anything to do, because there wasn’t an option to not wear a lot of shirts and blouses. So, my dermatitis was back.

Back at home, I used the same ointments and medications as before, and returned to the doctor. I felt really confused, since the bruises appeared and disappeared constantly. There were some moments where I didn’t have to worry about it, but some others I thought my skin could be easily torn. 

In January of this year, after a lot of blood tests, I did the famous “patch test”. This process is a test done on the skin to determine whether a patient has an allergic reaction to a specific substance that comes into contact. So, if that’s your case, you’ll notice it because of uncomfortable itchy and bruises.  Patch test done. I didn’t have any specific result, and it made me really sad, because I just wanted to be cured. 

After some months, my dermatitis disappeared, but since it would always come back, I decided to do the best thing that I never had thought about: take care of my body constantly and not at specific times. Lotions for my skin type started to be a part of my shelf, and I started to see myself and my disease with more careful and understandable eyes. 

To explain about the Atopic Dermatitis, the Allergist and Immunologist at the Hospital das Clínicas of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo, Guacira Franco, gave us an explanation about the disease:

1. How does dermatitis arise?

“Dry skin and intense itching are the main signs of Atopic Dermatitis. However, the clinical presentation is highly variable depending on the patient’s age, ethnicity, and disease activity.”

2. What are the main causes?

“Atopic Dermatitis is a complex chronic inflammatory skin disease. Several mechanisms are involved in the pathogenesis [cause] of Atopic Dermatitis, including skin barrier dysfunction, genetic factors, immune dysregulation, altered skin microbiome, and environmental triggers of inflammation.”

3. What are the effects of the disease on the individual?

“The effects are numerous, such as increased predisposition to skin infections, intense itching that can harm the patient’s routine and alter sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating on day-to-day activities, loss of self-esteem, compromised quality of life, and even social isolation.”

4. How can the treatment be carried out?

“Atopic Dermatitis is a complex disease that deserves a detailed evaluation. Therefore, each patient must be fully evaluated to better understand how it manifests itself.

After that, it is important to outline treatment strategies. The treatment of Atopic Dermatitis has main pillars, such as restoration of the skin barrier (bath and skin care, hydration), anti-inflammatory therapy, use of topical medications, control of itching, control of infections and triggers of attacks. And even systemic treatments. If the patient is indicated, we can prescribe allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy vaccines), and also immunobiologicals (such as Dupilumab or Upadacitinib). But each case must be assessed individually, during a medical consultation.”

5. Which public is most affected by the disease?

“Children are the most affected, but it is a disease that, less frequently, can affect adults. In the vast majority of cases, atopic dermatitis begins before the age of five, and can persist beyond childhood in approximately 50% of patients.”

6. Can the disease arise from a genetic issue?

“Yes, there are ongoing studies looking for the association of some genes.

The Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved, conclusively, Bill 1262/22, which establishes National Atopic Dermatitis Awareness Day, to be celebrated on September 23rd. So, the ninth month of the year is dedicated to the awareness of the disease. This way, we have to consider all the different causes and reactions of this disease in different people. Always look for a professional to take care of you and be careful with your body.”


The article below was edited by Fernanda de Andrade Silva.

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Lívia H. Magalhães

Casper Libero '25

Lívia, 17 yo, journalism student at Cásper Líbero University. Addicted to music and passionate about soccer.