What is Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)? Symptoms and Treatment

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atopic dermatitis (eczema), a condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. It is common in young children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis is long-lasting (chronic) and sometimes tends to flare. It may be irritating but not contagious. People with atopic dermatitis are at risk of developing food allergies, hay fever, and asthma. Moisturizing regularly and following other skin care habits can relieve itching and prevent new outbreaks (burns). Treatment may also include medicated ointments or creams.

Eczema Symptoms

People with eczema have very dry, itchy skin and rashes on various parts of the body – especially the hands, face, feet, inner elbows and back of the knees. In addition, skin lesions and spots may develop on the wrists and ankles, the sides of the neck or around the mouth.

For most people, the main symptom of eczema is itching, which further irritates the skin. This can lead to an “itch cycle,” or increased itching that worsens eczema symptoms. Eczema Other skin symptoms associated with

  • Patches of coarse, leathery skin
  • Red, raised bumps (hives)
  • Increased skin wrinkles on the palms
  • Small, hard lumps on the face, upper arms, and thighs
  • scaly skin patches
  • swollen, painful skin
  • skin color changes
What is Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

Eczema Treatment and Medication Options

Eczema treatment There is no cure, and the goal of treatment is to reduce eczema symptoms, heal the skin, and prevent skin damage and flare-ups. Medications, moisturizers, and at-home skincare routines make up an effective treatment plan for many people living with eczema.

Medication Options

Topical treatments include:

  • Corticosteroids (ointments, creams, or lotions) of varying strength, containing drugs such as 0.1 percent fluocinonide cream (Vanos)
  • Calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) such as tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel)
  • PDE4 inhibitor crisaborole (Eucrisa)
  • JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib (Opzelura)

Treatments for moderate to severe disease include:


  • Biologics, including the self-administered injectable drugs dupilumab (Dupixent) and tralokinumab-ldrm (Adbry)
  • Oral immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, or Restasis), methotrexate (Trexall or Rasuvo), or mycophenolate (CellCept)
  • Oral JAK inhibitors upadacitinib (Rinvoq) and abrocitinib (Cibinqo)
  • Wet wrap treatment combining topical medications and moisturizers with wet gauze.

Dietary Options

Changing your diet isn’t a surefire way to control eczema symptoms, but it can help. food allergies and eczema can produce similar skin symptoms, so if there are certain foods that trigger this reaction – maybe eggs for you and peanuts for another person – you’ll want to avoid them.

If you’re not sure which foods trigger your symptoms, you can try using an elimination diet. With this approach, you’ll eliminate potentially problematic foods before adding them back in and notice how your skin responds along the way.

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