Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. While the word “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin, “atopic” refers to an allergic tendency, which is often inherited. Although atopic dermatitis itself is not caused by an allergy, eczema sufferers have a higher risk of developing other allergic conditions (like asthma or hay fever).

Typically, eczema causes skin to become itchy, red, and dry — even cracked and leathery. Eczema most frequently appears on the face and extremities, but it can show up in other areas, too.

Eczema is a chronic problem for many people. It is most common among infants, many of whom outgrow it before school age.

Recommended reading:

  • National Eczema Association – The National Eczema Association is geared towards patients. Their site gives extensive information about the nature of eczema, its treatment, and management.
  • WebMD Eczema Health Center – Very useful resource complete with picture slideshows, patient forum discussions, and even patient reviews of different skin treatments.
  • “Allergy TV” by MedScape – Watch useful allergy videos online.