Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked.
Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. However, it may also develop for the first time in adults.
It's usually a long-term (chronic) condition, although it can improve significantly, or even clear completely, in some children as they get older.
Atopic eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red. Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread red, inflamed skin all over the body.
People with atopic eczema usually have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe (flare-ups).
Read about the symptoms of atopic eczema
See your GP if you have symptoms of atopic eczema. They'll usually be able to diagnose atopic eczema by looking at your skin and asking questions such as:
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and three or more of the following:
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it's clear it is not down to one single thing. Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies "atopic" means sensitivity to allergens.
It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather. Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema.
You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse. Allergy tests aren't usually needed, although they're sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
Read about the causes of atopic eczema .
Treatment for atopic eczema canhelp to relieve the symptoms and many cases improve over time.
However,there's currently no cure andsevere eczema often has a significant impact on daily life, whichmay be difficult tocope with physically and mentally. There's also an increased risk of skin infections.
Many different treatments can be used to control symptoms and manage eczema, including:
Read about treatingatopic eczema and complications of atopic eczema .
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin. Other types of eczema include:
Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday.
Atopic eczema causes areas of skin to become itchy, dry, cracked, sore and red. The severity of atopic eczema can vary a lot from person to person. People with mild eczema may only have small areas of dry skin that are occasionally itchy.
People with atopic eczema often have very dry skin because their skin is unable to retain much moisture. This dryness may make the skin more likely to react to certain triggers, causing it to become red and itchy.
Treatments for atopic eczema can help to ease the symptoms. There's no cure, but many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older.
People with atopic eczema can sometimes develop further physical and psychological problems. As atopic eczema can cause your skin to become cracked and broken, there's a risk of the skin becoming infected with bacteria.
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