You're likely to start by seeing your family or primary care doctor. But in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment.
What you can do
- List your signs and symptoms, when they occurred, and how long they lasted. Also, it may help to list factors that triggered or worsened your symptoms — such as soaps or detergents, tobacco smoke, sweating, or long, hot showers.
- Make a list of all the medications, vitamins, supplements and herbs you're taking. Even better, take the original bottles and a written list of the dosages and directions.
- List questions to ask your doctor. Ask questions when you want something clarified.
For atopic dermatitis, some basic questions you might ask your doctor include:
- What might be causing my signs and symptoms?
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What treatment do you recommend, if any?
- Is this condition temporary or chronic?
- Can I wait to see if the condition goes away on its own?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- What skin care routines do you recommend to improve my symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, including:
- When did you begin having symptoms?
- How often do you have these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Do you or any family members have asthma or allergies?
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you come in direct contact with pets or animals? What products do you use on your skin?
- Does your condition affect your sleep or your ability to go about your daily activities?
July 25, 2017
- AskMayoExpert. Atopic dermatitis (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Eichenfeld LF, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Section 1. Diagnosis and assessment of atopic dermatitis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2014;70:338.
- Archer CB. Atopic dermatitis. Medicine. In press.Accessed May 10, 2017.
- Eichenfield LF, et al. Current guidelines for the evaluation and management of atopic dermatitis: A comparison of the Joint Task Force Practice Parameter and American Academy of Dermatology guidelines. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2017;139:S49.
- Habif TP. Atopic dermatitis. In: Clinical Dermatology: A Color Atlas Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Saunders; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 9, 2017.
- Wolff K, et al. Atopic dermatitis ICD-10: L20. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2017.
- Ibler KS, et al. Hand eczema: Prevalence and risk factors of hand eczema in a population of 2,274 health care workers. Contact Dermatitis. 2012;67:200.
- Bleach baths. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/alternative-therapies/bleach-baths/. Accessed May 10, 2017.
- Atopic dermatitis. Eczema. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/medical-conditions/a/atopic-dermatitis.aspx. Accessed May 10, 2017.
- Weston WL, et al. Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics). https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2017.
- Wolter S, et al. Atopic dermatitis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2014;61:241.
- Zhang A, et al. Association of atopic dermatitis with being overweight and obese: A systematic review and metaanalysis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015;72:606.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 30, 2017.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema)