Atopic Dermatitis

"It is very important to determine a correct diagnosis, since it will make it possible to know the allergic causes to which the patient is exposed and to establish the appropriate treatment to correct or, if necessary, eliminate them".


Atopic dermatitis is a skin disease often suffered by people with allergies. It is a chronic disorder that usually begins in the first year of life and can last until adulthood.

It manifests its symptoms in the skin at first, and later "change the shock organ" and manifest itself in the form of rhinitis or asthma, or both at the same time, and skin lesions can coexist.

The outbreaks can be intermittent or, in severe cases, continuous, and usually improve in summer.

It is frequent the superinfection by staphylococcus that further complicates the disease.

In this disease, multiple sensitizations are frequent, which complicates the management of outbreaks.

What are the symptoms of atopic dermatitis?

The main symptom is intense and persistent itching. As a consequence, the patient tends to scratch compulsively, and abrasions appear.

The main sign is dry and recurrent dermatitis. It is characterized by the appearance of red areas on the skin, of varying intensity. In infants, it mainly affects the face, and in adolescents and adults it is located on the extension surface of the limbs, especially elbows and knees, in the form of plaques.

It can be associated with rhinitis, with or without asthma, in more than half of children. These patients usually present allergy to some foods.

Also, patients with atopic dermatitis have a special susceptibility to skin infections.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Itching.
  • Dry dermatitis.
  • Thickening of the skin.
  • Rhinitis.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have an atopic dermatitis

How is atopic dermatitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is made through a thorough examination of the skin, personal and family history, and study of the symptoms.

There is no test to determine whether or not a person has atopic dermatitis, and therefore the tests are aimed at ruling out other diseases.

Patients with atopic dermatitis who come to the Clínica Universidad de Navarra are attended to by a multidisciplinary team, made up of specialists from the Departments of Allergology and Dermatology.

This collaboration helps to ensure that the approach to treatment is the most appropriate to the situation of the disease. In addition, specialists in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology collaborate with these departments.

How is atopic dermatitis treated?

The treatment of atopic dermatitis is based on

  • General prevention measures. Wide range of clothing, preferably cotton or thread. Children should wear their nails very short and clean, to avoid scratching and skin superinfections.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. In general, avoid repeated baths and showers and especially the use of detergents. Baths with neutral soaps or oatmeal colloidal baths and dermatological oils are highly recommended.

Using ointments, creams or moisturizing and emollient solutions, maintain adequate hydration of the skin

In the acute phase, it may be necessary to use corticosteroids topically or orally, always under medical supervision.

There are cases of atopic dermatitis that are very rebellious to usual treatments. In these circumstances, family collaboration is essential, since these patients may be psychologically affected if the disease is an aesthetic disorder, especially in girls. Supporting psychotherapy is very important.

Where do we treat it?


Department of Allergology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Allergy and Immunology of the Clinic is part of the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network, composed of the 25 best departments of Allergy in Europe, chosen for their scientific excellence, multidisciplinary work, teaching and international activities.

We have the most advanced diagnostic techniques, we are at the forefront of research and we collaborate with the best experts. We have more than 50 years of experience in the field.

What diseases do we treat?

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • More than 50 years of experience.
  • Pioneers in the technique of molecular diagnosis by microarray.
  • Nursing specialized in allergic diseases and their care.