Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis Signs and Symptoms

Eczema also known as Atopic Dermatitis is a form of dermatitis, or inflammation of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin).

Signs and Symptoms

Extremely itchy patches of skin. However the skin may not always itch and the itch can come and go. In infants, these patches tend to develop on the scalp and face, especially on the cheeks. Teens and young adults are more likely to see patches on their hands and feet. Other common sites for these patches are the bends of the elbows, backs of knees, ankles, wrists, face, neck, and upper chest. The patches may not always appear in these areas; they can occur anywhere on the skin, including around the eyes and on the eyelids.

Rash. This often appears after the itchy skin is scratched or rubbed, but not always. A rash can occur even when the skin is not scratched.

Skin can swell, crack, weep clear fluid, crust, and scale.

Patches may bubble up and ooze or be scaly, dry, and red.

Without proper treatment, the skin thickens to protect itself from further damage caused by scratching. Dermatologists call this thickening of the skin “lichenification.”

Approximately 10% to 20% of the world’s population develops atopic dermatitis and this dermatologic condition occurs in all races and skin types.

An estimated 65% develop atopic dermatitis during their first year of life, and 90% develop the condition before age 5. While rare, atopic dermatitis can begin at puberty or later.

While atopic dermatitis resolves in many children by age two, 50% continue to experience signs and symptoms into adulthood usually as hand eczema.