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Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) - Types, Causes, Symptoms , Diagnosis and Treatment - Dermatology

May 11, 2023


Eczema which is  also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, and inflammatory skin. Even though it can affect anyone, young children are the most frequently affected. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis are persistent (chronic) and sporadic flare-ups. It may irritate you even if it is not contagious. Atopic dermatitis patients run the risk of acquiring asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. Regular moisturizing and other skin care practices help reduce itching and stop new outbreaks (flares). 

Read this blog further to get a quick overview of this important topic Eczema for dermatology preparation and ace your NEET PG/NExT exam preparation.

Types of Eczema 

Eczema comes in a variety of forms. Other types of dermatitis besides atopic include:

  1. Atopic Eczema - This is the most common type of eczema and usually starts in childhood. It is characterized by dry, itchy skin that is often red and inflamed. It tends to occur in areas with folds of skin such as the elbows and knees. Atopic eczema can be triggered by stress, changes in temperature and exposure to certain irritants.
  2. Contact Dermatitis - This type of eczema occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen such as chemicals, metals or fragrances. It causes a red , itchy rash that may blister or ooze. Contact dermatitis can be acute or chronic and it is more common in adults.
  3. Nummular Eczema - This type of eczema is characterized by  circular, coin shaped patches of itchy , red skin. It usually occurs on the arms and legs and can be triggered by dry skin , irritant or stress.
  4. Seborrheic dermatitis- This type of eczema usually occurs on the scalp, face and chest. It is characterized by red, scaly patches of the skin that can be itchy and flaky, seborrheic dermatitis is more common in adults.
  5. Dyshidrotic Eczema - This type of eczema usually occurs on palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is characterized by small, itchy blisters that may be filled with fluid.
  6. Stasis dermatitis: This type of eczema occurs when there is poor circulation in the legs,resulting in itchy,red and scaly skin. It is more common in older adults and can be triggered by varicose veins and other circulatory problems.


Although the precise etiology of eczema is unknown, many medical professionals agree that a mix of inherited and environmental factors may be to blame.

Children are more likely to develop eczema or another atopic disorder if one or both parents do. If one or both parents have an atopic disorder, the risk is raised.

Some environmental factors may also make eczema symptoms worse. These include:

Irritants: Juices made from fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats are among them, in addition to soaps, shampoos, detergents, and disinfectants.


  • Dermatitis atopica on the chest
  • Chest atopic dermatitis
  • Enlarge image of Pediatric eczema
  • Paediatric eczemaImage enlarged
  • Cracked, dry skin
  • Inflammation (pruritus)
  • Small, raised bumps on dark-skinned individuals
  • Crusting and oozing
  • extra-thick skin
  • the skin around the eyes becoming darker
  • Rubbed skin that is itchy and raw
  • Often beginning at age 5, atopic dermatitis can progress into adolescence and adulthood
  • Some people experience flare-ups followed by lengthy periods of improvement.


Following a physical examination during which they can carefully examine your skin, a medical professional will make the eczema diagnosis for you. This occurs most frequently since eczema is typically diagnosed in children, but a diagnosis can be obtained at any age if symptoms begin to manifest.Different illnesses might have symptoms that mirror eczema. To confirm your diagnosis and obviate the possibility of additional ailments, your doctor can advise tests. An allergy test may be one of the tests. Blood testing to look into potential non-dermatitis causes of the rash. A skin sample to differentiate between several dermatitis types.


The ideal course of action and drugs for your atopic dermatitis should be discussed between you and your doctor. However, taking care of your skin at home may help you use prescription drugs less frequently. Several suggestions are

  • Do not itch the rash or skin.
  • Apply a moisturizer or topical steroids to soothe the itching. To ease uncomfortable itching, take antihistamines.
  • Maintain short fingernails. If overnight scratching is an issue, think about wearing light gloves.
  • Apply ointments, such as petroleum jelly, to the skin two to three times per day to lubricate or moisturize it. Alcohol, aromas, colors, perfumes, and other compounds that can irritate the skin shouldn't be included in moisturizers. Home humidifiers can also be helpful.
  • Wool and lanolin, an oily material generated from sheep's wool as they can make the symptoms worse should be avoided.
  • Some cosmetics and moisturizers contain sheep wool. 
  • strong detergents or soaps 
  • Sweating may be caused by sudden fluctuations in body temperature and stress. 
  • During bathing or washing 
  • Use soft body washes and cleansers rather than traditional soaps and minimize water contact. Long, hot baths are preferable than lukewarm ones. 
  • Avoid scrubbing or drying the skin for too long or harshly. 
  • Apply lubricating creams to damp skin after a bath. This will assist in keeping skin hydrated.

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Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrap therapy, a novel approach to treating severe eczema, is being researched by scientists at the NIAID and other organizations. Each lukewarm bath is followed by the administration of topical medications and moisturizer, which are then sealed in by a wrap of wet gauze. The National Institutes of Health Clinical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, has received patients with severe eczema for study examination. Wet wrap therapy may be used as part of the treatment to manage the problem. In order to effectively control flare-ups after leaving the hospital, patients and their carers are also trained in skin care techniques for use at home.


Creating a simple skin care routine could help stop eczema flare-ups. The following advice could lessen how drying showering is:

  • Moisturizing  the skin 
  • A product or goods that function well for you should be chosen. 
  • The best one for you should ideally be odorless, safe, and cost-effective.
  • Your baby's skin may benefit from petroleum jelly use to help prevent the onset of atopic dermatitis.
  • Take a daily shower or bath. Use warm water instead of hot water, and only take a 10-minute shower or bath.
  • Make use of a soft, non-soap cleaner. 
  • Young children can typically be cleaned up with just warm water.

This is everything that you need to know about Acanthosis Nigricans for your dermatology preparation.. For more interesting and informative blog posts like this download the PrepLadder App and keep reading our blog!

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