About eczema

Eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis, or simply dermatitis) is a general term for skin that is habitually dry, itchy, red, cracked, oozing or scaly. Patients often find that the symptoms of eczema improve and worsen over time, in what is commonly known as flare-ups.

The location and appearance of eczema are different depending on age, skin type, and how long someone has had the condition. It can occur in various places on the body, such as the elbows, hands, wrists, knees, feet, ankles and neck.

Eczema affects more children than adults (10–20% vs. 1–3%, respectively), and it may be a life-long condition. Allergies, other diseases and family history are all risk factors for eczema: it is not something that you can catch from another person.

Having eczema can cause both physical and mental distress since severe itching can be both bothersome (for example, disturbing sleep) and also lead to an increased risk of skin infection.


American Academy of dermatology. 2018. Types of Eczema. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/atopic-dermatitis#overview [accessed Oct 2019].

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