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Dermatitis, Atopic Defined

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a chronic or recurrent inflammatory skin disease. "Atopic" references that there is typically a genetic tendency toward allergic disease. Atopic dermatitis usually begins in the first few years of life and is often the initial indication that a child may later develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

In infants, eczema usually appears as tiny bumps on the cheeks. Older children and adults often experience rashes on the knees or elbows (often in the folds of the joints), on the backs of hands or on the scalp.

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis (eczema) include: 

  • Patches of skin that are red or brownish
  • Itchy skin, especially at night
  • Dry cracked or scaly skin

Learn more about skin condition symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management.

Learn more about eczema.

Take our Skin Allergy Quiz

If your symptoms are making you miserable, an allergist / immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help. An allergist has advanced training and experience to determine what is causing your symptoms and prescribe a treatment plan to help you feel better and live better.

The AAAAI's Find an Allergist / Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.