Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema

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People with atopic dermatitis have dry, itchy, and easily irritated skin. At times their skin may be clear; at other times they may have a rash.

  • In infants, the rash appears most often on the cheeks, scalp, and the extensor (outer) aspects of the knees and elbows. It typically spares the diaper area.
  • In children, the creases of the knees and elbows are commonly affected. Other sites include the neck and skin creases at the wrist and ankle and the top of the thighs.
  • In adults, the rash often appears in and around the creases of the arms and legs, although sometimes the hands and feet are the only affected areas.

Patients in any phase can sometimes develop a thickening of skin, called lichenification. However, this shows up more frequently in older children and adults than infants. In any phase, skin infections by bacteria and viruses can occur. Our Managing section has more information on skin infections. The symptoms include: 

  • Generalized redness (erythroderma)
  • Oozing
  • Pustules, boils
  • A honey-colored crust
  • Blisters

Last reviewed on 10/21/09

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