Lexicon for Atopic Dermatitis

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

  • C fibers


    A type of nerve fiber found in the skin that play a role in pruritus (itching). They are stimulated by histamine.
  • Calcineurin inhibitors


    Immunosuppressant drugs, thus named because they suppress, or inhibit, certain immunological reactions. They are used systemically to prevent rejection of organs following transplant (kidney, heart, etc.). Ciclosporin and tacrolimus are examples. 
    When used locally, tacrolimus and its derivative, pimecrolimus (not sold in France) have an anti-inflammatory action similar to dermo-corticosteroids. They are therefore effective in treating eczema, and particularly atopic dermatitis.
  • Candida albicans


    A microscopic fungus that is present in tiny quantities in the digestive system. Sometimes Candida albicans can colonize the skin, which creates pustules.
  • Cataracts


    When the lens of the eye becomes opaque, causing loss of vision. Cataracts are common in older patients.
    Very rarely in atopic conditions, bilateral cataracts can appear during adolescence.
    Treatment with oral corticosteroids may cause cataracts, but it has been proven that those used to treat atopic dermatitis do not increase the risk of cataracts.
  • Ceramides


    A class of lipids with a high molecular mass, found in cell membranes, as well as surrounding epidermal cells in the stratum corneum. Some studies have shown anomalies in epidermal ceramides in cases of atopic dermatitis. These anomalies contribute to the deficiency of the epidermal barrier function
  • Cheilitis


    Inflammation of the lips. Cheilitis can be caused by the sun, irritation, allergies, and can also be part of atopic dermatitis.
  • Chemokines


    A certain kind of cytokine, whose fundamental role is to attract cells, particularly at the site of inflammatory reactions. The most commonly known chemokine is called interleukine 8. 
  • Chickenpox


    A childhood illness caused by the varicella-zoster virus, from the herpesviridae group. Chickenpox is practically compulsory for children. It appears as small red vesicles all over the body. It can leave scars, especially if the lesions are scratched or become infected. There is a vaccine against it, but it is only recommended for children in certain circumstances. Chickenpox has no specific effect on atopic children. 
  • Chinese herbs


    Traditional Chinese medicine uses herbal mixtures. There are thousands of them. Several years ago, it was thought by several authorities that Chinese herbs, when drunk in the form of an infusion, could have a significant effect on atopic dermatitis. However hopes were dashed, and this is unsurprising as prescriptions in Chinese medicine are personalized and respond to other criteria than those used by conventional science.   
  • Chlorhexidine


    A commonly used antiseptic, found in many treatments. 
    Chlorhexidine is effective and well-tolerated. One should be aware of the recommended use before using a product containing chlorhexidine.  
  • Ciclosporin


    A powerful immunosuppressant drug, used primarily to prevent organ rejection in transplant cases. Ciclosporin is also used in certain serious cases of inflammatory conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. These cases are exceptional, and treatment should not last too long as ciclosporin can have serious side effects. 
  • Claudins


    Molecules with a role in certain bonds between epidermal cells known as tight junctions. Their role is fundamental to the efficacy of the barrier function.
  • Climate therapy


    Climate therapy uses the beneficial effects of climate for health. This usually means sunnier climates (also known as heliotherapy). Hydrotherapy courses often combine hydrotherapy treatment using water with medical properties alongside climate therapy treatment.
  • Comorbidity


    Comorbidity is used to describe a patient affected with several diseases. For example, psoriasis and arterial hypertension. In the case of atopic dermatitis, the coexistence of asthma is generally described as an atopic condition or a dermo-respiratory syndrome. 
  • Congenital immune deficiency


    A genetic condition typified by a deficiency in the components of the immune system. This manifests itself through frequent and serious infections. 
    Certain specific immune deficiencies are accompanied by eczema which resembles atopic dermatitis, such as Buckley syndrome, hyper-IgE syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, for example. In common cases of atopic dermatitis, the skin is vulnerable to certain infections (staphylococcus, herpes, etc.) but there is no immune deficiency.
  • Conjunctivis


    An inflammation of the conjunctiva (white of the eye). It can be caused by allergies.  
  • Contact allergy


    Eczema caused by allergizing substances applied to the skin. The most common form of contact eczema is caused by metal objects containing nickel (costume jewelry, other accessories)  
  • Contact dermatitis


    Inflammation of the skin caused by contact with certain substances. There are two types of contact dermatitis
    - Irritation dermatitis, also known as irritant contact dermatitis.
    - Allergic contact eczema
    In practice, it is never easy to tell the difference between the two. 
    People working in an environment where they are exposed to irritants or allergens (hairdressers, builders, certain industrial environments) should take special precautions. 
  • Contact eczema


    Secondary eczema following contact with substances that trigger a specific immune reaction. The most common causes of contact eczema are nickel (costume jewelry) and chrome (cement). Local drug treatments and cosmetics can, in rare cases, cause contact eczema. 
    Contact eczema appears where the allergizing substance (contact allergen) was in contact with the skin. Proof can be found using epicutaneous testing or patch tests. The suspected substances are applied to the back, in controlled conditions. After 48 hours of application, it is possible to see whether the substance has caused a patch of eczema to appear.  
  • Contagion

    Contagion means the direct or indirect transmission of a disease. Eczema is not contagious.

  • Corneocyte


    The major cells of the epidermis are known as keratinocytes. In the stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of the epidermis, they are flattened and lose their nucleus. These are known as corneocytes. 
  • Corticophobia

    Corticophobia, or a phobia about corticosteroids, is an excessive fear of these drugs that are very useful in treating atopic eczema.

  • Corticosteroid phobia


    Excessive and unnecessary fear of corticosteroids. More specifically, corticosteroid phobia describes the way in which many patients and parents are reluctant, or even completely refuse, to use local corticosteroid therapy, a very effective and safe treatment for atopic dermatitis
    Corticosteroid phobia is caused by misinformation, lack of information, or even misunderstood information. It is therefore important that doctors and other healthcare professionals provide patients with accurate information regarding dermo-corticosteroids, in order that they benefit from this treatment's advantages. This is one of the goals of therapeutic education.
  • Cosmetics


    Cosmetics are products that are applied to the skin with a superficial effect. There are two types: 
    Appearance-altering cosmetics (make-up, lipstick, etc) are used to make the skin appear more beautiful. Cosmetics known as 'active' have the role of improving certain properties of the skin. For example, they can moisturize, improve texture, or protect against the sun. 
    Cosmetics are subject to strict regulation that is different to that applied to drugs.
    Certain cosmetics may be poorly tolerated (causing irritation or allergies) but currently this is rare. 
    Skin hydration is a daily necessity for atopic dermatitis sufferers. Moisturizing products that act on the skin's uppermost layers may have the status of 'cosmetics'. Some have obtained a 'drug treatment' status due to their properties. Others have a halfway-measure status of medical device (MD). From the user's point of view, these regulatory differences are of little importance.
  • Cow's milk proteins


    Milk is rich in lipids, glucides, and proteins, such as lactalbumin. In contrast to the proteins found in human milk, the proteins in cow’s milk (and other mammals) can be allergenic. Allergies to cow’s milk proteins cause digestive upset. There is no reason to believe that a child suffering from atopic dermatitis is allergic to cow’s milk or any other food unless they also suffer from digestive disorder. 
  • Cradle cap


    This colloquial term describes squamae (flakes) on the scalp in seborrheic dermatitis in infants, a benign condition that actually has nothing to do with cradles! 
    Cradle cap is very different to eczema of the scalp in atopic infants: they are not itchy and do not weep. 
  • Cream


    An emulsion made of active principles and excipients, to create a treatment for local use or a dermo-cosmetic product. Creams are generally rich-feeling and pleasant to use. Ointments are more oily and thick, whereas gels are more fluid. 
  • Crust or scab


    When a biological liquid (such as blood, pus or serum) dries or coagulates, it forms a solid crust. 
    For example, weeping eczema will form yellowish crusts. Local treatment is required to quickly remove these crusts, which may otherwise be subject to secondary infection
  • Cushing's Syndrome


    An endocrine disorder caused by excessive production of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands. General corticosteroid treatment in high doses can cause drug-induced Cushing's Syndrome. Dermo-corticosteroids, when used correctly, never cause such complications. 
  • Cyclic AMP


    A small molecule that plays a very important role in several of the body's functions.
    Several studies have shown that atopic conditions involve an abnormal increase in an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase, whose role is to degrade cyclic AMP. Thus, cyclic AMP is reduced in white blood cells (leukocytes), causing abnormal reactivity. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors could therefore help to correct cell anomalies in atopy. They are currently undergoing clinical trials for asthma and atopic dermatitis.
  • Cytokines


    Molecules created by certain cells, and acting at a distance on others (cyto- from the Greek for cell). 
    Interleukines, chemokines, and growth factors, among others, are all cytokines
    Cytokines are present everywhere in the immune and inflammatory systems. Anti-inflammatory treatments aim to counteract the action of inflammatory cytokines.