Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Eczema refers to any condition that causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema. Although atopic dermatitis affects people of all ages, it is most common in babies and young children under the age of 5.

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

Some most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis include the:

These symptoms usually appear as irritated rashes on the following areas

  • Face
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Outside or inside the elbows
  • Behind the knees or in front of the knees

Symptoms are also characterized by chronic ups and downs. Most cases feature periods when the condition is severe, called eczema flare-ups, followed by periods when the condition eases or clears, called remissions. 

Luckily, most children with atopic dermatitis go into permanent remission as they age. However, there are some instances in which the condition continues into adulthood.

During flare-ups, atopic dermatitis rashes are incredibly itchy. Scratching the rashes or affected skin can lead to compounded symptoms like:

  • Cracked skin
  • Weeping clear fluid
  • Bubbling rashes
  • Crusting
  • Scaling
  • Thick skin
  • Skin creasing around the eyes or on the palms
  • Skin darkening, especially around the eyes

How Age Can Affect the Symptoms Of Atopic Dermatitis

The symptoms of atopic eczema may be similar in different age groups, but some symptoms may differ in severity and intensity.

Atopic Dermatitis In Babies

Babies and young children usually develop atopic dermatitis on the cheeks, scalp, and forehead. On lighter skin tones, babies may notice redness along with rashes. However, darkening of the affected skin is common in darker skin tones.

You may also notice dry, scaly areas on different parts of the baby’s body, especially on the cheeks and hands. This is because when the babies feel the urge to itch, they scratch their skin against anything they find. The itching and rash may also cause discomfort in sleeping.

Atopic Dermatitis In Children

Children between the ages of 2 and puberty usually experience itchy rashes on the front and back of their knees and elbows, wrists, ankles, and neck. They may also experience itchy bumps that weep. In lighter skin tones, these bumps may appear as red or pink, and in darker skin tones they may appear as purple or brownish.

Atopic Dermatitis In Adults

Atopic dermatitis is very common on the hands and feet in adults. They may experience thickening of skin and discoloration of the affected skin. The itching and scratching can cause permanent discoloration and thickened patches of skin.

The itching and irritation in adults is more severe, causing complications like skin infection, sleep deprivation, stress, anxiety, and depression.

Do You or Your Child Have Atopic Dermatitis?

It’s important to see a doctor right away if you notice these symptoms in yourself or your child. If left untreated, chronic atopic dermatitis can leave skin thickened, dark, and scaly. If scratched, atopic dermatitis rashes can become infected and cause painful, pus-filled red bumps or rarely permanent scarring.

You should see a doctor for a precise diagnosis (i.e., atopic dermatitis vs. other types of eczema). Knowledge is power and will leave you better equipped to treat and manage it in the future.

Who Gets Atopic Dermatitis?

People who have a family history of eczema, hay fever, and allergies are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis It is more common in children under the age of 5. Babies usually develop it in the first 6 months of their life.

According to the National Institute Of Health, atopic eczema is more common in non-Hispanic black children and women than it is in men and boys. Some children may outgrow the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and never experience it again. In some cases, the symptoms may reappear in the form of eczema flare-ups. 

Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

The causes of atopic dermatitis are mostly unknown; therefore, treatment revolves around healing the skin and preventing flare-ups rather than permanent cures. The most consistent and effective treatment is to follow a proper skincare routine. Your routine must include 


  • Cleanse your skin and affected area with a gentle, non-soap cleanser
  • Take a bath at least once daily with a gentle eczema shampoo and body wash.
  • After cleansing, pat dry the area instead of rubbing it.

Try a cleanser that is specially formulated for eczema-prone skin. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash for atopic dermatitis is the pediatrician’s solution for soothing dry, itchy, or irritated skin. This non-soap cleanser is gentle. It is free of fragrances, dyes, sulfates, and preservatives to keep skin moisturized and to help prevent irritation. 


Some people consider exfoliation harmful for atopic dermatitis. But the truth is gentle exfoliation once or twice a week will help remove the excess dirt and irritants from the skin. It will also make way for the moisturizer to penetrate more easily into the skin.


  • Moisturize the skin at least twice daily.
  • The best time to moisturize the skin after taking a bath is when the skin is a little damp.
  • If you notice your skin is becoming dry, use the moisturizer 2 to 3 times a day.

It is important to choose the right moisturizer. An eczema cream that is free from harsh chemicals and contains natural ingredients that help soothe the skin.

Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream For Eczema is clinically tested. It helps restore the delicate skin barrier and protect it against irritants. The natural ingredients in it help soothe itching and redness associated with eczema and atopic dermatitis.

Avoiding The Triggers

Triggers are any variable that usually causes a flare-up. Common triggers include stress, harsh soaps and detergents, dry skin, and extreme temperatures. Determining and avoiding personal triggers goes a long way toward reducing flare-ups and their severity.

Choosing The Right Products

Choosing the right products is essential in effectively managing atopic dermatitis. It is believed that products with a low pH level are effective in managing inflammation, itching, and redness associated with atopic dermatitis.

Happy Cappy Two-Step Eczema Skincare Routine is formulated with a low pH to mimic the pH of healthy skin to help bolster the skin’s barrier function and antimicrobial activity. They are cruelty-free and vegan, made with oatmeal extract and licorice to help soothe discomfort and calm redness, and encourage happy, healthy baby skin. 

Read the blog to learn more about Happy Cappy Products’s pH level.

Additional Resources:

Medicine Net, What is Atopic Dermatitis?

WebMD, What is Atopic Dermatitis?


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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What are the four most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis?

The four most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis in babies are:
Itchy skin
Red rashes
Flaky skin

How is atopic dermatitis diagnosed in babies?

The doctor will diagnose the baby's atopic dermatitis by examining the affected areas; they will inquire about the baby's medical history and family history of atopic dermatitis. Rarely would a doctor suggest a skin biopsy to diagnose eczema.

Is atopic dermatitis dangerous for babies?

Atopic dermatitis is not dangerous. About 50% of children with eczema naturally outgrow the condition by puberty. But for some people, it may persist throughout their lifetime.

Is atopic dermatitis genetic?

Atopic dermatitis is not solely caused by genetics, but yes, it has a very strong genetic component. People with a family history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, hay fever, or other allergic conditions are more likely to develop eczema.

What are other names for atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is also known as atopy, eczema, and dermatitis.

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