Skin Home > Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, which is actually a type of eczema, tends to develop in early childhood and continue into the teen years. Symptoms include sensitive skin; extremely itchy skin; patches of red, dry skin; and blisters or thickening of the skin. The condition usually improves with the right skin care and lifestyle changes. Treatment options include corticosteroids, skin creams and ointments, and light therapy.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a type of skin rash that usually develops in early childhood and continues into the teen years. The term "atopic" refers to a tendency to develop allergy conditions, and the term "dermatitis" means swelling of the skin. Atopic dermatitis, which is not contagious, is often referred to as eczema, which is a general term for several types of skin inflammation. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. However, several types of eczema have similar symptoms.
While atopic dermatitis is more common in babies and children, it can affect people of all ages. People who live in cities and dry climates may be more likely to get the condition.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis symptoms include:
  • Sensitive skin
  • Extremely itchy skin
  • Patches of red, dry skin
  • A rash that appears wet
  • Blisters or thickening of the skin.
Although most people will stop having severe atopic dermatitis symptoms when they become adults, they will usually continue to have mild symptoms and sensitive skin.

(Click Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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