Atopic Dermatitis Glossary
It may feel like there's a lot to learn when it comes to understanding your atopic dermatitis. Refer to this glossary for definitions of commonly used terms.
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.
A typically harmless substance that causes a response by the immune system. Examples of allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold.
A chronic condition characterized by an unusual reaction by the immune system to a typically harmless substance, called an allergen.
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.
Small single-celled organisms. Some bacteria can cause diseases in animals and humans.
Lasting for a long time or occurring over and over for a long time.
Dried fluid on the surface of the skin.
Inflammation of the skin. Symptoms may include redness, rash, itch, pain, blisters, and oozing fluid. Atopic dermatitis is a type of dermatitis.
Second layer of skin that is responsible for carrying blood to your skin, growing hair, and producing sweat.
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.
Rough and scaly skin that often itches.
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.
A substance that softens, soothes, and increases moisture in the skin. Also called moisturizer.
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.
The sudden worsening of symptoms of a disease, for example, atopic dermatitis.
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.
Your body’s response to a substance that the immune cells recognize as foreign.
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.
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.
Invasion of the body by harmful organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
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.
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.
An unpleasant sensation in the skin that makes you want to scratch.
Small, round structures in the lymphatic system that contain white blood cells. Lymph nodes may swell during an infection.
One way to practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath and how it moves in and out of your body.
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.
Weeping of fluid on the skin surface as a result of scratching. Crusting can occur after the fluid dries.
A change in the way skin looks or feels. Skin may change color, may become bumpy, dry, itchy, or cracked.
A response to a treatment, or to something that happens in the environment.
Reddening of the skin surface.
Inability to relax or calm down.
Flakes or plates of dry, hard outer layer of skin.
To scrape your skin with nails, often to release itching.
Treating yourself with the same kindness you would treat somebody else who is going through a difficult time.
Being highly or uncomfortably aware of yourself.
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.
Medications that decrease inflammation and modulate the immune system. Steroid creams and ointments are frequently used to treat atopic dermatitis.
The way you respond to difficult circumstances, for example, work, school, and life changes.
Under the skin.
A local increase in the size of a body part caused by accumulation of liquid in the tissue.
Type of white cell that helps protect the body from infections by sending chemical signals that influence how other immune cells act.
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.
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.