Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long lasting (chronic) and tends to flare periodically and then subside. It may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever.
No cure has been found for atopic dermatitis. But treatments and self-care measures can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks. For example, it helps to avoid harsh soaps and other irritants, apply medicated creams or ointments, and moisturize your skin.
See your doctor if your atopic dermatitis symptoms distract you from your daily routines or prevent you from sleeping.
July 26, 2014
- AskMayoExpert. Atopic dermatitis (adult and pediatric). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Atopic dermatitis: Possible complications. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/complications.html. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Allen HB, et al. The presence and impact of biofilm-producing Staphylococci in atopic dermatitis. JAMA Dermatology. 2014;150:260.
- Bamford JTM, et al. Oral evening primrose oil and borage oil for eczema (review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004416.pub2/abstract. Accessed March 24, 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed March 24, 2014.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology.7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=45. Accessed March 24, 2014.
- Just AC, et al. Prenatal exposure to butylbenzyl phthalate and early eczema in an urban cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2012;120:1475.
- Compalati E, et al. Evidences of efficacy of allergen immunotherapy in atopic dermatitis: An updated review. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2014;12:427.
- Dabade TS, et al. Wet dressing therapy in conjunction with topical corticosteroids is effective for rapid control of severe pediatric atopic dermatitis: Experience with 218 patients over 30 years at Mayo Clinic. Journal of Academic Dermatology. 2012;67:100.
- Eichenfield LF, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2014;70:339.
- Garritsen FM, et al. Photo(chemo)therapy in the management of atopic dermatitis: An updated systematic review with implications for practice and research. British Journal of Dermatology. 2014;107:501.
- Gibson LE. Atopic dermatitis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2005;80:107.
- Hajar T, et al. Prehydration is effective for rapid control of recalcitrant atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2014;25:56.
- 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.
- Jadotte YT, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine treatments for atopic eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010938/abstract. Accessed March 24, 2014.
- Kot M, et al. Contact hypersensitivity to haptens of the European standard series and corticosteroid series in the population of adolescents and adults with atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2014;25:72.
- Lee KC, et al. Effectiveness of acupressure on pruritus and lichenification associated with atopic dermatitis: A pilot trial. Acupuncture Medicine. 2012;30:8.
- Eczema. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND&pt=&sh=3&fs=ND&id=891&r=3&searchid=45742579&txt=eczema#selected. Accessed March 24, 2014.
- Pride HB, et al. What's new in pediatric dermatology. Part I. Diagnosis and pathogenesis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;68:885e1.
- Pride HB, et al. What's new in pediatric dermatology. Part II. Treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;68:899e1.
- Shekariah T, et al. Atopic dermatitis in children: A practical approach. Paediatrics and Child Health. 2011;21:112.
- Wolter S, et al. Atopic dermatitis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2014;61:241.
- Wong S, et al. Efficacy and safety of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) baths in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in Malaysia. Journal of Dermatology. 2013;40:874.
- Weston, WL, et al. Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Weston WL, et al. Patient information: Atopic dermatitis (eczema) (Beyond the Basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 20, 2014.
- Lichen simplex chronicus. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec10/ch114/ch114f.html. Accessed Feb. 10, 2014.
- Bleach baths. National Eczema Association. http://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/alternative-therapies/bleach-baths. Accessed March 19, 2014.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 25, 2014.