So, you’re living with atopic dermatitis. You might have been diagnosed a long time ago, or you might be new around here, but one thing is for sure: your uncontrolled AD is probably getting in the way of living your life.
What you need is control.
Control isn't just about reducing lesions and itch, it's about managing the impact AD has on your overall quality of life, such as how well you sleep, your mental health, and your ability to do daily activities. It isn't just about occasional periods of calm either. Control in the long-term means a reduction in or the prevention of flare-ups.
If you go through periods of no symptoms, you may reasonably think your AD is under control. But if you’re still experiencing sporadic flare-ups, having to constantly avoid potential triggers, or having to drastically alter your lifestyle, you might not quite have long-term control.1
And of course, if your current treatment isn’t properly easing your symptoms, things may need to change. You should try asking your dermatologist about a management approach that can help you gain long-term control of your AD, to keep those symptoms at bay.
But it’s not just your physical symptoms that indicate your level of control – the way AD impacts your quality of life does too. Let’s take a closer look at how gaining long-term control could change more than the symptoms you see and feel.
An important aspect to look at is how much time you spend living with AD flares. On average, people with moderate-to-severe AD have on average a total of 9 flare-ups a year.2 Each flare can last around 15 days, and in severe cases even longer.2 When flares take up so much of your life, your AD may not be controlled. But getting your precious time back may not be as far away as you might think.
Living with AD is certainly no walk in the park, and knowing if your AD is controlled can be tricky too. Recognising poor control goes beyond keeping an eye on the signs that you see and the symptoms that you feel. You also need to take a step back to see the wider impact AD has on your life.
You might be missing out on some of life’s basic pleasures:3
Better control of AD can come in different forms for different people. For some, control looks like a reduction in symptoms like itch, and the amount of lesions on your body. This can be game-changing. For others, the type of control that can make a big difference is when your AD has a smaller impact on your quality of life.4 Gaining control of your AD can mean a good night’s sleep, the freedom to do small everyday activities, and even improved mental health. But how do you get to that point?
This is where treatment options come in. There are different short-term and long-term approaches to treatment that can help you manage your AD symptoms.
Short-term ‘reactive’ treatments are used during and after you experience symptoms.5 You will likely see a flare, use a reactive treatment, and then stop using the treatment once the symptoms disappear.5 These treatments may work to get rid of your flares on a surface level, but they may not provide you with long-term control.
Long-term ‘proactive’ treatments are implemented before the symptoms appear with the hopes of preventing a flare in the first place.5 Even when your skin looks ‘normal’ and has no visible lesions, it still has a damaged skin barrier and is affected by underlying inflammation.5 That’s why a proactive approach can be helpful in managing your AD in the long-term.
They can help you find ways to gain the long-term control you deserve.
AD can take a toll on your mental health. Be sure to check-in with yourself – and consider how AD is really making you feel.Discover more
This guide gives you the know-how you need to discuss treatments with your dermatologist.Discover the guide
Our Doctor Discussion Guide can help you feel more prepared for those all-important appointments.Discover the guide
Mayo Clinic. Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – Diagnosis and treatment. 2020. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279. Accessed: February 2021.
Abuabara K et al. Dermatol Clin 2017; 35(3): 291—297.
Zuberbier T et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 118: 226–232.
Boguniewicz M et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2017; 5: 1519–1531.
Wollenberg A et al. Ann Dermatol 2012; 24(3): 253–260.