What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

What is Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)?

Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema is a skin condition that affects adults and children alike. Characterized by red, itchy rashes that concentrate on the cheeks, arms, and legs, this uncomfortable chronic ailment is most common in children and generally begins in a child’s first six months.

Though often used synonymously with the term “eczema,” atopic dermatitis is a more specific diagnosis of eczema characterized by severe flare-ups interspersed between periods of improvement. However, as most pediatricians use “eczema” and “atopic dermatitis” interchangeably, they are colloquially considered the same.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

The most common symptom is a dry, itchy, and red rash. However, atopic dermatitis symptoms and their severity can vary depending on age.

Infant atopic dermatitis can cause dry, itchy, or scaly skin or a rash most typically encountered on the 

  • Heeks c
  • Scalp
  • Outside of the knees 
  • Outside of the elbows 

are common in infancy. It may also lead to a rash that bubbles and weeps clear fluid depending on the intensity of the flare-up. 

Atopic dermatitis symptoms vary slightly in older children — they include 

  • Rashes in elbow 
  • Knee creases
  • Scaly skin patches
  • Thick or leathery skin
  • Discolored spots
  • Severe dry skin
  • Rashes on the face and neck.

These uncomfortable symptoms can lead to trouble sleeping or, more rarely, to skin infections from scratching that form pus-filled bumps or yellow crusts.

Those who continue to have flare-ups as adults will discover their rashes take on different characteristics and could go for years without symptoms.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)?

Our skin has a natural barrier that protects it against outside irritants and allergens and keeps it moist. But when, for any reason, there is a dysfunction of the skin barrier, the skin becomes more sensitive and prone to dryness, itching, and rashes.

This skin irritation can trigger atopic dermatitis, especially if you experienced it in childhood. There are chances you may experience eczema flare-ups if proper care and attention are not given to the skin.

Atopic Dermatitis VS Eczema

Atopic dermatitis and eczema are often used interchangeably by doctors to describe the same chronic inflammatory skin condition. However, eczema is a much broader term, and atopic dermatitis is one of its types. Some other common types of eczema are.

How to Prevent Atopic Dermatitis

There are several ways to help reduce the frequency and severity of eczema flare-ups.

Eczema Shampoo

A gentle shampoo for atopic dermatitis can go a long way towards preventing flare-ups. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo & Body Wash is the only eczema shampoo and body wash formulated for children. It is a pure, non-soap cleanser with a low pH, is hypoallergenic, and is fragrance-free, as recommended by pediatric dermatologists. Its ingredients are 95% plant-based and selected for their soothing properties, including Oatmeal Extract, Licorice Root Extract, and Aloe Vera.

Eczema Cream

Best Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Apply a hydrating, fragrance-free, and dye-free moisturizing cream twice a day. The best time to apply an eczema cream is after the bath because the skin is able to retain more moisture at that time.

Choose a moisturizer that contains natural ingredients like licorice root extract and glycerin. Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream for Eczema contains these natural ingredients that help restore the skin’s natural barrier and soothes itching and irritation in those with eczema prone skin.

Choose The Right Clothing

Avoid dressing children in rough, tight, or scratchy clothing made from synthetics or wool. Light, loose, and breathable fabrics like cotton are best and even better when washed in pure, unscented, and undyed soaps. Skip fabric softeners and consider running clothing through an extra rinse cycle.

Avoid Triggers

If you suspect or know that certain factors, such as

  • Harsh chemicals in products
  • Stress
  • Extreme weather
  • Excess sweating
  • Dry skin
  • Poison ivy

May be triggering your eczema, then try avoiding them and staying away from them.

Happy Cappy Products are vegan, cruelty-free, clinically tested, and safe for all kids and adults.

If your child suffers from seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, Dr. Eddie recommends Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo & Body Wash, a pyrithione zinc shampoo for kids.


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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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Will atopic dermatitis go away as the baby grows old?

Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition. This means there are chances it may not permanently go away–it may come and go throughout the baby’s life as flare-ups.

Can breast milk help with a baby’s eczema?

Rubbing breast milk on the affected area may help soothing redness, but breast milk alone will not treat eczema in babies.

At what age is atopic dermatitis common in babies?

Early onset eczema is widespread in babies during the first year of their life. Almost 60% of atopic dermatitis cases start by that age.

What triggers atopic dermatitis in babies?

Atopic dermatitis is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. But a few things that may trigger atopic dermatitis and worsen its flare-ups are extreme weather and allergens, harsh chemicals in products, and infections.

Is my baby at risk of atopic dermatitis?

If eczema, asthma, or allergies run in your family history, your baby might be at risk of experiencing atopic dermatitis in the first few years of life. But don’t worry. It is widespread in babies and can be managed with the help of a gentle hypoallergenic shampoo and eczema moisturizing cream.

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