This website is intended for people who have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (as well as those who know someone with atopic dermatitis).
Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema, is a common, chronic, inflammatory skin disorder characterized by flaky skin lesions, intense itching, and a general deterioration in quality of life. AD is one of the most common, relapsing childhood skin disorders, affecting 15 to 30 percent of children. Approximately one-third of children with AD will continue to experience symptoms as adults.
Although great strides have been made in studying AD, the causes are still not completely understood. Much of the explanation may be found within our bodies, in the genes that affect how our skin functions. The skin is our first defense against bacteria and other irritants that can cause our bodies harm. When the skin’s ability to act as a protective barrier is compromised, our immune system reacts. In the case of AD, the immune system may be overreacting to perceived threats.
Some common irritants that cause AD to flare include soaps, detergents, sweat, dust, and pollen. As you or your child experience AD flares, you may be able to identify some of the environmental factors that cause the symptoms to get worse.
Symptoms of AD vary from one person to another, but some of the most common outward signs include:
Although these are the most common symptoms, you or your child may experience additional symptoms. AD can also lead to infections after repeated scratching breaks the skin, sleeplessness caused by severe itching, and other complications. The study doctor can discuss symptoms and potential complications of AD with you more fully.