Lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis

This is a lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis.
Click on a letter and discover all the related terms and their definition.

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  • Dakin liquid

     

    A solution of diluted sodium hypochloride, with antiseptic properties, particularly against staphylococci. Dakin liquid is bleach diluted with water to a level where it is tolerated by the skin. 
     
  • Defensis

     

    Molecules with antimicrobial properties produced by the skin. They are often described as natural antibiotics
     
  • Delayed hypersensitivity

     

    A kind of allergy in which clinical symptoms appear later (several hours to several days) after introduction of an allergen. The best example of these is allergic contact eczema. Hypersensitivity, immunity, or delayed allergy, does not involve antibodies as do other immune responses, but rather T lymphocyte cells only.
     
     
  • Dendritic cells

     

    Cells that are part of the immune system, with the primary function of presenting antigens to lymphocytes. Langerhans cells are epidermal dendritic cells. Dermal dendritic cells also exist. 
     
  • Dennie-Morgan fold

     

    A double skin fold (wrinkle) under the lower eyelid, which is often seen in people affected with atopic dermatitis. It is one of the minor criteria for diagnosis, and thus has little value. 
     
  • Depigmentation

     

    Discoloration or lightening, even whitening of the skin.
    This is the only symptom of certain conditions such as vitiligo. Significant inflammation as seen in atopic dermatitis can cause skin pigmentation problems (or dyschromia) which can involve hyperpigmentation (darker skin) or depigmentation (lighter skin). Post-inflammatory dyschromia is usually temporary. 
     
  • Dermatophagoides

     

    The scientific name for the dust-mites that live in household dust. Allergy to these mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) plays a role in asthma and certain kind of rhinitis. Although atopic dermatitis patients may be recommended to keep their living environments clean, the significance of dust-mite allergy is still in debate, and is likely only a minor factor. 
     
  • Dermatophytes

     

    Microscopic fungi with a particular affinity for the stratum corneum. They are therefore responsible for infections of the upper skin layers: ringworm of the scalp in children, rounded plaques on the skin, intertrigo (particularly athlete's foot) and fungal nail infections, particularly on the toes. 
     
     
  • Dermatosis

    From the Greek "derma" = skin. Dermatoses means all skin conditions, independently from their cause.

  • Dermo-epidermal junction

     

    Area that separates the epidermis from the dermis, often known as the basal membrane or layer. The dermo-epidermal junction is made up of several structures (collagens, adhesion molecules, etc). Conditions affecting the dermo-epidermal junction can be hereditary (bullous epidermolysis), or acquired (bullous auto-immune diseases). Atopic dermatitis does not affect the dermo-epidermal junction.
     
  • Dermocorticosteroids

    Medications used in dermatology due to their anti-inflammatory effect on dermatoses (skin disease). For example, eczema, psoriasis.

  • Dermographism

     

    Dermographism is sometimes known as 'skin writing': simply scratching or rubbing the skin provokes a line of urticaria which is red and raised. It can be a benign reaction, and if so will not be accompanied by itching. Recent and itchy dermographism is the same as urticaria, and should be investigated as such (treatments, diet, etc.).
     
  • Desquamation

     

    The medical term to describe the formation of squamae or scales/flakes on the skin's surface. This is also described as peeling skin. Certain conditions are typified by significant desquamation. The most commonly known of these is psoriasis. Chronic eczema involves thickened skin that sheds squamae. 
     
  • Diagnostic criteria

     

    These are symptoms which allow doctors to be certain that the diagnosis of atopic dermatitis is correct. For example, the appearance of eczema, itching, chronic development pattern, etc. In fact, these criteria are primarily used in large-scale clinical studies. In practice, diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (or eczema) is generally not difficult. 
     
  • Dyschromia

     

    Pigmentation (or color) anomaly in the skin.
    We distinguish between hyperpigmentation, where the skin is darker than usual (e.g. melasma), and hypopigmentation, where the skin is lighter than usual (e.g. vitiligo). 
    Skin inflammation, such as is seen in atopic dermatitis, can cause temporary dyschromia
     
     
  • Dyshidrosis

     

    A type of eczema that affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, as well as the sides of the fingers and toes. 
    Dyshidrosis is typified by small blisters filled with serous liquid (vesicles), that are very itchy. 
    All eczema, atopic dermatitis included, can present as dyshidrosis. Contrary to what one may gather from its name, dishydrosis has nothing to do with sweat. The thickness of the stratum corneum in these areas is probably responsible for this curious appearance. 
     
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