Atopic dermatitis

Also called eczema

                baby with eczema Atopic dermatitis: This disease often appears before a child's first birthday and causes itchy skin that is red, warm, and tender.

This is a common skin disease in children. It is so common that people have given it a few names:

  • Eczema (name most people use).
  • Dermatitis.
  • Atopic (a-top-ic) eczema.
  • Atopic dermatitis.

To avoid confusion, we’ll use the medical term atopic dermatitis.

Children often get atopic dermatitis (AD) during their first year of life. If a child gets AD during this time, dry and scaly patches appear on the skin. These patches often appear on the scalp, forehead, and face. These patches are very common on the cheeks.

No matter where it appears, AD is often very itchy. Infants may rub their skin against bedding or carpeting to relieve the itch.

In children of all ages, the itch can be so intense that a child cannot sleep. Scratching can lead to a skin infection.

Because atopic dermatitis can be long lasting, it is important to learn how to take care of the skin. Treatment and good skin care can alleviate much of the discomfort.

Learn more about atopic dermatitis:

Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

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