Atopy - What Does It Mean And How Is It Linked To Eczema?
If you’re one of the lucky ones that suffers from an atopic disease, you’ve probably been left for a while wondering what the heck ‘atopy’ even means.
And we can’t blame you - it’s a little confusing.
Luckily there’s wonderful people in the world (like us), breaking things down for you and making life a whole lot simpler!
In this article, you’ll find:
1. What does atopy mean?
2. Types of atopic diseases
3. Common triggers
5. Useful treatment tips for atopic dermatitis (yeh, we’re bias)
6. Final thoughts
So, what does atopy mean?
Atopy refers to the genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases. It’s used to describe an IgE-mediated response within the body following exposure to environmental allergens.
It’s possible that atopy is hereditary, although contact with the external irritant must occur before the condition can develop.
Types of atopic diseases
There are 3 types of atopic diseases that are relevant when we refer to atopy:
A condition that causes your skin to become itchy, red and inflamed. Chronic and especially prevalent in children, AD (also referred to as eczema) often appears in ‘flare ups’ where the skin overreacts to an internal or external irritant.
Both physically and emotionally difficult to deal with, atopic dermatitis often comes with a number of other related symptoms such as sleep loss or anxiety.
2. Allergic asthma
Also referred to as ‘allergy-induced asthma’, it’s common for people with this condition to have trouble breathing during allergy season (summer months in the UK).
When this occurs, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness can be expected.
3. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
This is an inflammation of the inside of the nose, again caused by an external irritant such as pollen or pet dander.
Very common in the UK, it affects roughly 1 in every 5 people.
Often those who suffer from hay fever only experience symptoms a few months of the year in spring/summer, although it is possible to get allergic rhinitis all year round.
When it comes to atopic diseases (like with eczema in general) there’s no one definitive list of triggers that will cause flare ups.
It’s different for everyone, and really a game of trail and error to see what irritants cause a reaction with your skin.
But luckily, there’s a few we should all be on the lookout for:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Environmental irritants (such as bleach, detergent or fragranced products)
- Cold/dry weather
- Smoke or chemical fumes
- Severe and persistent itching, that may interrupt your sleep
- Dry skin
- Sinus pain with swelling
- Runny nose and/or nasal congestion
- Red, irritated eyes
As you’ll appreciate, these symptoms apply across all 3 atopic diseases. So if you primarily just suffer from atopic dermatitis you can delete coughing off your list, but very much underline itching!
Useful treatment tips for atopic dermatitis
We know what you’re thinking, but this is an article about all 3 types of atopic diseases? And you’d be right.
But as it goes, we’re kinda biased towards AD in particular. So find below some quick, simple home treatment tips to help with the condition.
1. Stop the need to itch!
But how? Don’t worry, our calming spray is exactly what you’ve been missing! Enriched with a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs, our unique plant-based formula has been especially designed to fight back the symptoms of a flare up.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-itch by nature, it’s paraben, sulphate and steroid free :)
2. Moisturise regularly
When you suffer from atopic dermatitis, it’s likely you have a damaged skin barrier meaning you're more susceptible to triggers in your close environment.
When this is the case, moisturising can help to repair the outer layer and lock in hydration, whilst protecting you against unwanted external irritants.
3. Identify your triggers
This one isn’t easy and requires a high degree of patience (and maybe a little luck). But it’s crucial you understand what’s responsible for triggering your flare ups if you hope to get any control over your skin.
Try speaking with your dermatologist and going for a patch test to get the ball rolling.
4. Relax and de-stress
When you’re stressed or anxious, your body releases a number of hormones into the bloodstream that can cause inflammation. This in turn can then worsen your eczema symptoms.
The answer? You have to prioritise your own mental health. Give meditation and mindfulness a go if you’re stuck on where to start.
When it comes to atopic diseases, there are a number of triggers and symptoms you need to be aware of. Hopefully what we’ve broken down for you above has been of some help.
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The yan-yee team
- Allergic disease. (2011). Link
- Allergic rhinitis. (2019). Link
- Atopic eczema. (2019). Link
- Hay fever. (2020). Link