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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  • Filaggrin

     

    A very important molecule found in the epidermis. Its name comes from its primary function, which is to gather, or keep together, keratin fibers, which are important for the form and function of epidermal cells. During epidermal differentiation, filaggrin, which is present in its complete form in the granular layer, is degraded by enzymes called proteases, forming smaller molecules that play an essential role in epidermal hydration (Natural Moisturizing Factor).
    The current interest in filaggrin comes primarily from the fact that in 2006, British researchers discovered genetic anomalies in filaggrin in patients suffering from atopy, and they are therefore a risk factor for atopic dermatitis and other atopic conditions.  
     
  • Filaggrin

    An essential component of the skin barrier.

  • Fingertip unit

     

    One of the major difficulties in dermatology is quantifying local treatments. Whilst it is easy to swallow, for example, one tablet per day, it is difficult to apply a precise amount of local (topical) treatment to the skin. The quantities applied depend on the product's consistency and the way in which it is applied. Its absorption depends on the area of the body being treated, the skin's condition (normal or abnormal) and many other factors (age, clothing, etc.). 
    Some dermatologists recommend stating the quantity that should be applied by counting 'fingertip units'. One fingertip unit is the amount of cream or ointment that fills a fingertip (down to the first joint) of the index finger as it comes out of the tube. This unit is not very precise, but corresponds to about 500mg, which is the quantity needed to treat around 250cm2 of skin (a rectangle of 25cm by 10cm). This is complicated and not commonly used in practice. However, it is true that the amount of treatment used needs to be counted in some way, particularly when using dermo-corticosteroids. In this case, attention should be paid to ensure the amount applied does not exceed the dose recommended by the doctor, and to use small quantities, reducing them once improvement is observed.
     
  • Fish oil

     

    An animal oil that is particularly rich in vitamin D and in omega-3 essential fatty acids. The most commonly known type is cod liver oil. Vitamin D is currently administered as a medical prescription. 
    An omega-3 supplement has no particular role in treating atopic dermatitis
     
  • Flare-up

     

    Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that develops in flare-ups in between periods of remission. Flare-ups are often triggered by stress, whether psychological or otherwise. During a flare-up, the patient may experience significant inflammation that may require local corticosteroid therapy. During remission periods, emollient treatments and preventive measures are normally enough.  
     
  • Follicular

     

    An adjective referring to anything related to the skin's hair follicles. Dermatitis found primarily around the hair follicles is known as follicular eczema or follicular dermatitis. For example, rough skin on the arms is known as keratosis pilaris, or follicular keratosis. 
     
  • Food allergy

     

    The relationship between food allergies and atopic dermatitis are very complicated, and can often confuse parents. In practice, we must remember that they are two independent conditions: atopic dermatitis is not caused by a food allergy, and it is useless to carry out tests. It is also useless to attempt elimination diets or other investigations unless the patient also suffers from digestive symptoms.
     
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