Atopic Dermatitis and Flaxseed Oil

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease that targets the skin. It is most commonly known as eczema or atopic eczema. “Dermatitis” literally means an inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is usually found in patients who have an “atopic tendency”. These only mean that they have a high risk of acquiring atopic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, hay fever and asthma because they have inherited it from their parents or other family members.

This is not contagious, meaning the disease cannot be spread from one person to another. It is not known how the disease is spread but doctors are currently looking at hereditary and environmental reasons. It is also a malfunction of a body’s immune system when there is an absence of a protein called cytokine and high amount of other cytokines which will result to inflammation of the skin.

Atopic dermatitis causes one’s skin to become unbearably itchy. Scratching will lead to swelling (inflammation), cracking and crusting. The most common symptoms are dry and itchy skin resulting in rashes on the face, hands, feet and other joints. These symptoms appear mostly on children and their conditions will improve or disappear as they grow older. Sometimes, though, it will not improve or their condition will have sudden flares. Sometimes it will develop to asthma or hay fever.

Accurate diagnosis of it is not that easy. The doctor will probably ask if a parent or any other family member has acquired the disease before (or even hay fever and asthma). They will also ask if the patient has been exposed to possible irritants such as smoke, dust or even soaps and detergents. However, there is no current test that can really know if someone is afflicted with this. The doctor will have to see the patient several times to monitor and rule out other diseases.

Once diagnosis have been done, treatment might be done in months or for cases where the disease started in childhood, even years. Treatment requires reducing one’s exposure to irritants. These include having to avoid certain places such as the beach or smoky areas in general.

Another possible treatment is regular application of moisturizers to skin and probable use of topical steroids to ease on itchiness brought on by the disease. These should be done with utmost care as they can provide more allergic reaction to a patient’s skin.

Other doctors have also found flaxseed oil to be important in curing atopic dermatitis.

Flaxseed oil is found in a slender plant called flax plant (Linum usitatissimum) which has a history of healing wonders. Flaxseed oil is derived by pressing flaxseeds to produce therapeutic oil that is rich in EFA (essential fatty acids). EFA are valuable because the body needs them to function but cannot manufacture them on their own. One EFA found in flaxseed oil is omega-3 fatty acid which helps in reducing the risk of heart disease and other diseases.

Flaxseed oil also possesses EFA that gives it its skin-healing power. Red and itchy patches of skin resulting from it often respond to EFA from flaxseed oil. These EFA have anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing actions which will help a patient recover from atopic dermatitis or at least provide relief from its itchiness.