What is Atopic Eczema? What is Atopic Eczema?
Atopic dermatitis

What is Atopic Eczema?

Atopic eczema is when the skin itches, is dry and inflamed. What this means is that the skin barrier that protects against microorganisms and moisture is broken in a specific area. The most common case is that atopic eczema appears at an early age, but there are cases where people have developed symptoms at a later age.

Other names for atopic eczema

Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema has many names, it can be called flexural eczema or child eczema. If you have mild symptoms on your face it is called pityriasis alba. Atopic winter feet are when the skin under the foot scales and breaks. A common variety is also keratosis pilaris which are small bumps on the upper arms.

Toilet seat eczema often is common on children who are affected by atopic dermatitis, it flares up just below the buttocks on the legs.

If you have an eczema that has been going on for a long time, your skin may get chapped and hard, and an old-fashioned way of saying it is elephant skin or lichenification.


The most common symptoms of atopic eczema are red rashes that are dry, scaly and itchy. The symptoms look different at different ages and depending on where on the body they appear.

In children up to one year, the rash usually sits on the neck, face or scalp, but it can also be found on the arms, trunk and legs.

When the child is up to eleven years old, the skin is usually more torn, drier and scaly. Then the eczema usually sits around the mouth or in the skin folds of the body.

For adults, the eczema is usually thickened and dry, and can sit on the face and around the eyes, as well as on the hands, feet and neck. Some of the rashes can also get a yellow crust as a result of an infection.

Complications of atopic eczema

As the rashes usually itch a lot, so much of the irritation in the skin comes from itching with the nails on the rash, which allows a bacterial infection to break out and fluid comes out of the eczema, which in turn can create crusts that can create more discomfort.

Causes of Atopic Eczema

The reasons why people get atopic eczema are not entirely clear, but it is known that genes and hereditary factors are of great importance. We are also not entirely sure if allergies are important or not, a lot of research remains to be done.

There are some external factors that are known to impair atopic eczema:

  • Chemicals
  • Too much shower and bath
  • Dry air
  • Stress
  • Itchy clothes
  • Infections
  • Dust
  • Sweating

Common treatment methods for atopic eczema

The most important form of treatment when you have atopic eczema is that you always keep the dehydrated skin soft, as the skin lacks fat and moisture when you suffering from atopic eczema, which is best done with moisturizing creams. This is partly to relieve the dry skin where the rash has flared up and to prevent it from getting worse.

Softening creams also cause the area to become less irritated which makes it itchy less, which in turn reduces the risk of infections from itching.

Moisturizing creams can also prevent you from getting more rashes.

When bathing and showering, it is also good to use shower oils that make the skin less dry and prevent atopic eczema.

You should use moisturizing creams every day and lots of it, it should be massaged for a few minutes and should always be applied after taking a shower or bath.

Cortisone creams help to keep inflammation in the atopic eczema, so it is very important that you take just the right amount at just the right time, following the doctor's directive. It can be difficult to be consistent in your application but it is important not to take too much or too little. You should only smear on the cortisone on the affected area.

There are also more and more biological drugs, which are drugs that are similar to the body's own substances that have shown good results.

Another treatment that has shown good results is actually sunlight, but of course it has its side effects too, so be sure to sunbathe with moderation!

Read more about how to treat atopic eczema here: https://itsitchy.com/how-to-treat-atopic-dermatitis/


Written by Zac Hyde M.D.