What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common chronic skin condition marked by itching, inflammation, redness and swelling of the skin. Eczema is a form of dermatitis. Eczema itself is not dangerous, and it is not contagious. Eczema is an allergic condition that is most common in babies and children and usually resolves by adulthood.

Eczema occurs when skin is more sensitive to certain substances than normal. The appearance, severity, symptoms and triggers of eczema vary between individuals. There is currently no cure for eczema, but eczema can be controlled with regular medical care and a good treatment plan. Some types of eczema can be prevented by avoiding stress, irritants, and things that cause allergic reactions.

Eczema is generally not a serious condition, but there is a potential for complications, such as a secondary bacterial or fungal infection of the eczema rash. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of eczema. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce your risk for complications.


What are the symptoms of eczema?

Symptoms of eczema can differ in severity, frequency and duration among individuals. Symptoms frequently begin in infancy, reoccur during childhood, and disappear during adulthood. Flare-ups, however, can be unpredictable throughout your lifetime.

Skin areas affected by eczema can exhibit a variety of characteristics including:


What causes eczema?

Eczema occurs when skin is more sensitive to certain substances than normal. Eczema often occurs in patches and may appear as rashes that come and go and then may disappear altogether.

The exact cause of eczema is not known, but it is linked to Read more about eczemacauses


How is eczema treated?

Eczema is a chronic condition that is not curable. However, with a well-integrated, medically monitored plan of care, symptoms can be effectively controlled, and people with eczema can lead active, comfortable lives. A good treatment plan is individualized to your medical history, the specific type and severity of your eczema, the specific cause, and other factors.

A combination o... Read more about eczematreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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