Overview of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema, is a common skin disorder that affects 10 to 15 percent of children. It is a relapsing disorder that causes rashes and itching—at times intense—and usually improves later in childhood. Many people, however, continue to be affected to some degree throughout their lives. Some studies show that breastfed children have a lower incidence of atopic dermatitis.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

Genetics play an important role in the occurrence of atopic dermatitis, although the exact mechanism is unknown. When both parents have a history of atopic dermatitis, there is an 80 percent chance that their children will have it. Families with a history of asthma and allergies also experience a higher incidence rate.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015