Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

Both adults and children can experience atopic dermatitis, a chronic condition that causes dry, itchy, inflamed rashes on the skin. Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that can impact your quality of life and even interfere with your daily routine. There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, but there are ways to manage it.

We treat atopic dermatitis at our Springfield, Longmeadow, Northampton, and Westfield, MA, locations through a careful diagnostic process and proven effective therapies.

What Is the Main Cause of Atopic Dermatitis?

There is not a single cause of atopic dermatitis. Some possible causes include a genetic variation, a bacterial imbalance on the skin, or an immune response.

What Are Some Typical Atopic Dermatitis Triggers?

Certain external and internal triggers can cause atopic dermatitis flare-ups, including:

  • Stress and lifestyle factors
  • Heat and sweat
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cold and dry air
  • Products that contain fragrances
  • Physical irritants like rough fabric
  • Skin infections
  • Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander

Some people, especially infants and children, may have food allergies that trigger flare-ups.

What Does Atopic Dermatitis Look Like?

Typically, you will experience dry, itchy skin accompanied by a red rash. You may also have weepy or crusty, oval-shaped patches on your skin. Atopic dermatitis patches can occur anywhere on the body, including inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on the neck.

How Do I Get Rid of Atopic Dermatitis?

There are several treatment options your provider can recommend depending on the severity of your condition. At New England Dermatology & Laser Center in Massachusetts, we may recommend:

Identifying and Managing Triggers

Identifying factors that cause atopic dermatitis flare-ups can be challenging as the flare-up can occur quite some time after exposure. Make a list of common triggers, such as dry skin and irritants in household and skincare products, so it’s easier to avoid them.

Emotional stress can also lead to flare-ups, so try to eliminate stress through exercise, talk therapy, or meditation.

Topical Corticosteroids

Prescription and over-the-counter corticosteroids are standard options for managing atopic dermatitis for adults and children. You can get a low-potency dose over the counter, or your provider may prescribe a more potent option. To achieve the best results from your topical treatment, you should use the amount recommended by your provider.

Oral or Injectable Steroids

Oral or injectable steroids effectively relieve symptoms of itching and inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis. Some injectable and oral corticosteroids include prednisone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone. Inform your provider if you use corticosteroids in the form of nasal drops or eye drops to prevent health risks due to overuse.


DUPIXENT (dupilumab) is an injection, and RINVOQ (upadacitinib) and Cibinqo (abrocitinib) are oral medications. They can be used in people of varying ages with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis that is not adequately controlled with topical prescription therapies or when those therapies are not advisable. They work to regulate your body’s overactive immune system to help reduce inflammation contributing to your eczema. They can be used with or without topical corticosteroids.

Non-Steroid Prescription Topicals

EUCRISA (crisaborole) ointment 2%, Opzelura (ruxolitinib) cream 1.5%, tacrolimus, and pimecrolimus, are non-steroidal prescription topicals for the treatment of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis. They work by down-regulating your body’s overactive immune response, thus reducing inflammation. They are indicated when other traditional therapies like low-dose steroids are ineffective or unsafe.

Choose a Specialist

Atopic dermatitis is different for everyone. Our team of experienced and caring dermatologists will take the time to understand your skin concerns and provide a customized treatment plan.

Learn more about our medical team at the New England Dermatology & Laser Center or call us at (413) 733-9600 to schedule an appointment.


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