Atopic Dermatitis by Age
Atopic dermatitis by age tends to have similar patterns of progression and symptoms -- the primary difference is the appearance of the rash and where it is located. The condition usually appears in infancy and childhood. However, when considering atopic dermatitis by age, it's important to understand that the condition can appear for the first time in adulthood as well.
Atopic dermatitis that occurs during infancy and childhood will affect each child differently. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis typically appear when the infant is between 6 to 12 weeks of age. The progression of symptoms may include:
- Patchy facial rash on the cheeks and chin
- Red, scaly, oozing skin
- Skin infection
- Exposed areas, such as the inner and outer parts of the arms and legs, become affected.
An infant with atopic dermatitis may be restless and irritable due to the itching and discomfort associated with the disease. Although the infant's skin may improve by the time he or she is 18 months old, infants with atopic dermatitis will have a greater-than-normal risk of developing dry skin or hand eczema later in life.
In childhood, the rash tends to occur:
- Behind the knees
- Inside the elbows
- On the sides of the neck
- Around the mouth
- On the wrists, ankles, and hands.
In most cases, the rash will begin with papules that become hard and scaly when scratched.
Another common symptom of atopic dermatitis is inflammation of the skin around the lips. Children who ease this inflammation by constantly licking the area may have small, painful cracks in the skin around the mouth. In some children, the disease goes into remission for a long time, only to come back at the start of puberty when hormones, stress, and the use of irritating skin care products or cosmetics may cause the disease to flare up.