Atopic Dermatitis: Symptoms

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition with chronic symptoms. Also known as atopic eczema, it causes skin damage through symptomatic flare-ups.


The severity of the inflammatory flare-ups varies from one patient to another. The reddish wounds overlap with blisters, which ooze and form a scab. When the patches dry, the itching starts.

Atopic eczema: order of the appearance of symptoms

1. Red patches or rash
2. Blisters
3. Oozing
4. Scabs (swelling or edema possible)
5. Itching

In the case of atopic dermatitis, patients should avoid irritating the affected areas. If they scratch, the inflammation will get worse and the itchiness of the eczema will increase. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis are therefore uncomfortable for patients. Their sleep is disturbed by itchiness during the night. Signs of infection are often the result of scratching the eczema patches. The inflammation gets worse. This is a vicious cycle, with the symptoms of dermatitis triggering secondary infections.

Atopic dermatitis: symptoms in the body

The symptoms of atopic eczema affect the legs, the arms and sometimes the torso. Skin folds are often affected by dermatitis. The atopic dermatitis also affects parts of the face, such as the cheeks and the forehead.

Atopic dermatitis: symptoms in children

The symptoms of atopic eczema occasionally arise in infants. Periods of inflammatory flare-ups and remissions (dry skin) are seen before the age of two. 20% of young patients affected by atopic dermatitis continue to have skin flare-ups after this age. The flare-ups become fewer and further between with age, however.

Atopic eczema: symptoms in adults

Treatment for dermatitis involves treatment for the symptoms itself. It causes the symptoms to subside but doesn’t combat the cause of eczema. This is why flare-ups continue occurring into adulthood. At this age, the eczema is concentrated on the face, the neck and the hands.

Last updated: 10/14/19

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Atopic dermatitis on the forum

See the forum Atopic dermatitis