Atopic Dermatitis

(Also known as dermatitis, atopic dermatitis or eczema)

  • It’s a common skin disease affecting both children and adults
  • It affects about 20% of children, with 70% of the affected children being under the age of 5.
  • 50% of children will continue to have atopic dermatitis into adulthood.
  • About 3% of adults get eczema for the first time in their lives.

Symptoms and sign

Infants and young children

  • Itching often with scratching or infants rubbing against the bedding or other objects
  • Poor sleep
  • Dry and scaly patches affecting scalp, forehead and face (mainly the cheeks)
  • Other parts on the body can be involved
  • Open scratched area can be infected leading to yellowish crusting and oozing

Older children and adults

  • Rashes appear mainly in the body folds (knees, elbows)
  • Other areas commonly affected are the neck, wrist, ankles and the area between the buttocks and the legs.
  • If untreated skin can get thickened and leathery ( sometimes skin gets darker or lighter).
  • Skin can also get bumpy looking like goose bumps.


  • Eczema is thought to have a genetic origin
  • It affects mainly people who have family members with either eczema, asthma or hayfever ( some people call it sinuses)
  • A very small number of children will have food allergies that will make their eczema worse

In some people mainly adults eczema can affect only the hands (hand dermatitis/eczema), scalp or the face.


  • Treatment approaches are different for each patient
  • It usually involves skin care and lifestyle changes
  • Depending on the severity it can either be topical or systemic treatment (oral steroids or immunosuppressants)
  • Topical treatment can include
    • Emollients
    • Topical steroids
    • Topical immunomodulators (Elidel or Protopic)

Sometimes bleach baths can be suggested to reduce the frequency of infections.

For the best treatment speak to your dermatologist

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Gandhi.