Eczema is an incredibly common condition that many people deal with. It is treatable, but may never go away.
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What is Atopic Dermatitis?
Also called eczema, atopic dermatitis is an itchy, scaly rash that appears in patches on the skin. It may be on the cheeks, scalp, hands, or other places. It can appear anywhere.
It is common in infants and young children, and can persist into adulthood.
Types of Eczema (Dermatitis)
- Allergic contact eczema (dermatitis): a red, itchy, weepy reaction where the skin has come into contact with a substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign, such as poison ivy or certain preservatives in creams and lotions
- Atopic dermatitis: a chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin
- Contact eczema: a localized reaction that includes redness, itching, and burning where the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy causing substance) or with an irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical
- Dyshidrotic eczema: irritation of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that may itch and burn
- Neurodermatitis: scaly patches of the skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms caused by a localized itch (such as an insect bite) that become intensely irritated when scratched
- Nummular eczema: coin-shaped patches of irritated skin (most common on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs) that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy
- Seborrheic eczema: yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and occasionally other parts of the body
- Stasis dermatitis: a skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to circulatory problems
Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis
Symptoms may include:
- Dry, scaly patches on the skin
- Extreme itching, especially at night
- Fluid-filled blisters where scratching has occurred
- Thickened or cracked skin
Atopic dermatitis may be genetic. It may also be related to food or other types of allergies in some people, including hayfever and asthma.
Complications of Atopic Dermatitis
Complications may include:
- Poor sleep (due to night itching)
- Infection of open sores
- Contact dermatitis (allergic skin reactions)
If you suspect any complications, please see your doctor to rule out infection or another skin condition.
Managing Atopic Dermatitis
It is possible to prevent and/or manage atopic dermatitis outbreaks in most cases. This includes avoiding known triggers (the use of heavily perfumed soaps or detergents, known food allergies, etc.), keeping skin moisturized, and more.
Atopic dermatitis is not typically serious. It is an annoying, itchy rash that often lasts months or years, but which usually does not cause complications.
|6-12 weeks||Patchy facial rash which can progress to red, scaling, oozing skin; May become infected|
|Crawling stage||Exposed areas like inner and outer parts of arms and legs may be affected|
|18 months||Condition may seem to improve but there is an increased risk of developing extremely dry skin or hand eczema later on|
|Early Childhood – Preteen||Condition may seem to improve but there is an increased risk of developing extremely dry skin or hand eczema later on|
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