• Action plan

    A personalized document, created with your healthcare team, that outlines your doctor’s instructions for how to manage your atopic dermatitis, from basic skin care to how to respond to flares.

  • Allergen

    A typically harmless substance that causes a response by the immune system. Examples of allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold.

  • Allergy

    A chronic condition characterized by an unusual reaction by the immune system to a typically harmless substance, called an allergen.

  • Atopic dermatitis

    A chronic skin disease characterized by skin inflammation and itch. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. Scratching the skin results in redness, swelling, cracking, oozing, crusting, and scaling. Atopic dermatitis is not contagious. Also called atopic eczema.

  • Bacteria

    Small single-celled organisms. Some bacteria can cause diseases in animals and humans.

  • Chronic

    Lasting for a long time or occurring over and over for a long time.

  • Crusting

    Dried fluid on the surface of the skin.

  • Dermatitis

    Inflammation of the skin. Symptoms may include redness, rash, itch, pain, blisters, and oozing fluid. Atopic dermatitis is a type of dermatitis.

  • Dermis

    Second layer of skin that is responsible for carrying blood to your skin, growing hair, and producing sweat.

  • Distraction Techniques

    Coping strategies that are meant to draw attention away from an unpleasant experience to something interesting and appealing. Distraction techniques can reduce itch and pain.

  • Dry Skin

    Rough and scaly skin that often itches.

  • Eczema

    A group of skin conditions characterized by skin inflammation, rash, and itch. There are many different types of eczema and atopic dermatitis is the most common of them.

  • Emollient

    A substance that softens, soothes, and increases moisture in the skin. Also called moisturizer.

  • Epidermis

    The top layer of the skin. The epidermis is the visible part of the skin that is responsible for protecting your body and helping you stay healthy. It prevents foreign substances and organisms from entering your body.

  • Flare-up

    The sudden worsening of symptoms of a disease, for example, atopic dermatitis.

  • Immune Cells

    Cells that help the immune system protect your body from infections. There are many types of immune cells; for example, white blood cells (that include T cells) help the body fight diseases.

  • Immune Response

    Your body’s response to a substance that the immune cells recognize as foreign.

  • Immune System

    The defense system that protects your body against harmful substances and invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Immune system is made up of many different cell types and organs.

  • Immunological Disease

    A disease that starts when the immune system fails to function as usual. Immunological diseases include allergy, asthma, atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema), and autoimmune diseases.

  • Infection

    Invasion of the body by harmful organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

  • Inflammation

    The body’s response to damage caused by bacteria, harmful substances, high temperature, or other factors. The damaged cells produce chemical signals that attract white blood cells, causing swelling in the surrounding tissues. Inflammation can lead to pain, itchiness, and redness.

  • Irritant

    A substance that causes irritation but does not cause an immune response. Examples of irritants include wool, synthetic fibers, soaps, detergents, some cosmetics, chlorine, dust, sand, and cigarette smoke.

  • Itch

    An unpleasant sensation in the skin that makes you want to scratch.

  • Lymph Node

    Small, round structures in the lymphatic system that contain white blood cells. Lymph nodes may swell during an infection.

  • Mindful Breathing

    One way to practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath and how it moves in and out of your body.

  • Mindfulness

    State of being highly aware of what you are feeling at the present moment, without judging your thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness can decrease stress and improve mood.

  • Oozing

    Weeping of fluid on the skin surface as a result of scratching. Crusting can occur after the fluid dries.

  • Rash

    A change in the way skin looks or feels. Skin may change color, may become bumpy, dry, itchy, or cracked.

  • Reaction

    A response to a treatment, or to something that happens in the environment.

  • Redness

    Reddening of the skin surface.

  • Restlessness

    Inability to relax or calm down.

  • Scaling

    Flakes or plates of dry, hard outer layer of skin.

  • Scratch

    To scrape your skin with nails, often to release itching.

  • Self-compassion

    Treating yourself with the same kindness you would treat somebody else who is going through a difficult time.

  • Self-conscious

    Being highly or uncomfortably aware of yourself.

  • Skin Cells

    Different types of cells that perform special functions. Skin cells produce substances that defend the body against invading organisms. Immune cells are a type of skin cell.

  • Steroid

    Medications that decrease inflammation and modulate the immune system. Steroid creams and ointments are frequently used to treat atopic dermatitis.

  • Stress

    The way you respond to difficult circumstances, for example, work, school, and life changes.

  • Subcutaneous

    Under the skin.

  • Swelling

    A local increase in the size of a body part caused by accumulation of liquid in the tissue.

  • T Helper Cells

    Type of white cell that helps protect the body from infections by sending chemical signals that influence how other immune cells act.

  • Triggers

    Something that can make your atopic dermatitis worse. Examples of triggers include dry skin, irritants, stress, hot and cold temperature, sweating, infection, allergens, and hormones.

  • Viruses

    Small and very simple organisms that can infect cells and cause diseases. Viruses cannot grow outside of infected cells and are not considered to be living.