Atopic dermatitis

Our physicians and staff strive to improve the overall health of you and your family by focusing on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of your medical condition(s). Please use our patient care library to learn more about personal health, skin care and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Atopic dermatitis: Overview

Also called: Eczema

This is a common skin disease in children. It is so common that people have given it a few names:

  • Eczema (name most people use)
  • Dermatitis
  • Atopic (a-top-ic) eczema
  • Atopic dermatitis

To avoid confusion, we’ll use the medical term atopic dermatitis.

Children often get atopic dermatitis (AD) during their first year of life. If a child gets AD during this time, dry and scaly patches appear on the skin. These patches often appear on the scalp, forehead, and face. These patches are very common on the cheeks.

No matter where it appears, AD is often very itchy. Infants may rub their skin against bedding or carpeting to relieve the itch.

In children of all ages, the itch can be so intense that a child cannot sleep. Scratching can lead to a skin infection.

Because atopic dermatitis can be long lasting, it is important to learn how to take care of the skin. Treatment and good skin care can alleviate much of the discomfort.


© American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission. Use of these materials is subject to the legal notice and terms of use located at https://www.aad.org/about/legal