Newsletters - February 2001

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic and a prevalent form of eczema characterized by itchy, red, inflamed, scaling, cracking, weeping, and crusting skin. Although atopic dermatitis commonly affects infants and young children, it can continue into adulthood or show up later in life for the first time. It is estimated that 10% of infants and young children develop symptoms of AD. Approximately 60% of these infants continue to have symptoms of AD into adulthood which means more than 15 million people in the United States have symptoms of AD.1

Although the specific cause of AD is not known, the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors. Research suggests that it is related to other disorders, such as hay fever and asthma which many people with AD develop. AD is not contagious, and stress can make it worse. Because the skin is dry and itchy, AD sufferers often scratch which can cause infection. Consequently, the skin of AD sufferers is susceptible to infection because the stratum corneum, a barrier that prevents skin from drying out and from the damage of irritants and infections, is damaged.1

Conventional treatment for AD varies depending on the patient’s age, symptoms, and general health. The main goals of treatment are to heal the skin and keep it healthy, prevent flare ups, and treat symptoms when they occur. Proper skin care and lifestyle changes are effective for some AD sufferers. Patients are advised to develop skin care routines (e.g. use a cream or ointment on the skin after bathing), identify factors that exacerbate AD, and avoid circumstances that trigger the skin’s immune system and the itch-scratch cycle.1

When itching and rash fail to be controlled, medication is added to the patient’s daily skin care routine. Medication is also required if infection is present. The most frequently used conventional medications are corticosteroid creams and ointments. Antibiotics for skin infection may be applied topically or taken orally, and antihistamines are commonly taken to reduce itching and allergy symptoms. Other treatments include phototherapy (treatment with ultraviolet light), photochemotherapy (combination of ultraviolet light therapy and psoralen), and immunosuppressive drugs (e.g. cyclosporine). Severe cases of AD that fail to respond to common treatments are prescribed systemic corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone) in which the corticosteroids are given orally or injected into muscle.1

The drawback to most of the conventional treatments for AD are the side effects. For example, the side effects of corticosteroids include skin damage, thinned or weakened bones, high blood pressure, cataracts, high blood sugar, and infections. Similarly, cyclosporine’s (immunosuppressive drug) side effects include high blood pressure, nausea, kidney problems, vomiting, headaches, tingling or numbness, and an increased risk of cancer and infections. Similarly, long-term treatment with ultraviolet light can cause premature skin aging and skin cancer.1

Due to the side effects of the conventional AD medications, scientists are actively searching for alternative treatments. Uehara et al.2 tested the effectiveness of oolong tea in 118 patients with recalcitrant AD. Patients were instructed to maintain their normal dermatological treatment programs, and they drank oolong tea daily after 3 regular meals. (Oolong tea is partially oxidized. Black tea is manufactured to ensure a high degree of enzymatically catalyzed aerobic oxidation of tea polyphenols (e.g. catechins). Green tea is not oxidized in order to preserve the leaf polyphenols.3)


  • Sabinsa Corporation
    20 Lake Drive
    East Windsor
    NJ 08520, USA

  • +1 732 777 1111
  • +1 732 777 1443


Certificate Logos Certificate Logos Certificate Logos Certificate Logos