Eczema is a condition that makes the skin itchy and red. It lasts over a long period of time which can include flare ups.
Symptoms of eczema are caused by inflammation in the skin. It is not clear what causes this. Things that may play a role include:
Things that may increase the risk of eczema:
Eczema may cause some of the following:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health past. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis is often made based on how the skin looks. Tests may be done to rule out other problems or to look for an infection.
Treatment can help to ease itching and redness. It may also reduce the number of flare ups. The medical team can also help to find what may be causing more irritation.
Scratching the skin can make symptoms worse and damage skin. Damaged skin will increase the risk of infection. Treatment can help to ease itchiness and protect the skin. Treatment steps may include:
Proper skin care may decrease injury to the area and allow the skin to heal. Steps to ease stress on skin include:
Medicine may be needed to ease symptoms. Examples include:
Light therapy may be tried if other care is not helpful. This may include:
There are no steps to help reduce the risk of eczema.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
National Eczema Association
Canadian Dermatology Association
Atopic dermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed October 30, 2019.
Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atopic-dermatitis/ . Updated June 20, 2019. Accessed October 30, 2019.
Atopic dermatitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/atopic-dermatitis. Updated July 2016. Accessed October 30, 2019.
Eczema and atopic dermatitis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/eczema-and-atopic-dermatitis. Updated June 2017. Accessed October 30, 2019.
6/4/2010 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis : Alexander DD, Cabana MD. Partially hydrolyzed 100% whey protein infant formula and reduced risk of atopic dermatitis: a meta-analysis. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50(4):422-430.
1/4/2016 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis : Zhang A, Silverberg JI. Association of atopic dermatitis with being overweight and obese: a systematic review and metaanalysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;72(4):606-618.
7/14/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115212/Atopic-dermatitis : Blauvelt A, deBruin-Weller M, et al. Long-term management of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis with dupilumab and cocomitant topical corticosteroids (LIBERTY AND CHRONOS): a 1-year, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2017;389(10086):2287-2303.
Last reviewed October 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Monica Zangwill, MD, MPH
Last Updated: 10/30/2019