Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema is an allergic condition known as atopic dermatitis, or AD. Atopic means the “tendency to develop allergies.” An antibody known as IgE triggers allergic responses, including eczema.

Eczema is an itchy, scaly, red rash that can show up on the face, hands, arms, legs and other parts of the body. Eczema is linked to dry skin. Scratching eczema can lead to red, broken skin with oozing and skin infections.

Eczema usually starts in babies. Eczema in babies can often show up on their faces. Children and adults also can have eczema. It can appear different at times or show up on different parts of the body. Eczema is usually linked to a personal or family history of allergies.

There is no cure for eczema, but you can control it by:

  • Avoiding exposure to known allergens
  • Using medications
  • Bathing and applying moisturizers right away
  • Avoiding irritants to the skin

Treating eczema is important because it can:

  • Relieve pain and itching
  • Prevent infections
  • Improve quality of life
  • Prevent it from getting worse
  • Stop the skin from thickening

Work with your allergist or dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin conditions) to create a treatment plan to meet your needs.


Medical Review October 2015.