Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation of the skin that can appear on any part of the body. Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is the most common form of the many forms of eczema and often runs in families.
Atopic eczema is a long-lasting condition that tends to flare periodically and then subside. Typically, eczema causes the skin to become itchy, red, and dry, even cracked and leathery. It may be accompanied by allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever.
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but the current thinking is that it is caused by a combination of factors including genetics, an overactive immune system, environment, and defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in.
Atopic eczema is common in children, typically appearing between three and 12 months of age, but it can occur at any age. Most often it affects skin on the face, hands, feet, inner elbows, and the back of the knees. The face and scalp may be affected and in some chronic cases, the whole body can be affected by eczema.Factors that may trigger eczema include stress, heat and sweat, cold, dry climates, dry skin and contact with irritating substances such as woolen and synthetic fabrics and soap.
No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis, but treatments and self-care measures can help to relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks.
If you are worried that you or your child may have eczema or allergies, please visit your local medical doctor for medical diagnosis and treatment.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) signs and symptoms vary widely from person to person and include:
Atopic eczema can be persistent and you may need to try various treatments over months or years to control it.