Eczema in Adults and Children | Cleveland Clinic & Cleveland …

Posted: December 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

What is eczema?

Eczema is a general term for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed, red, dry, bumpy, and itchy. However, this term is most often used to refer to a condition called atopic dermatitis. In atopic dermatitis, skin barrier function (the "glue" of the skin) is damaged. This loss of barrier function makes the skin more sensitive and more prone to infection and to becoming dry.

Eczema is a common skin condition, affecting as many as 15 million Americans. It most often occurs in very young children. Ten percent to 20 percent of all infants have eczema, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, nearly half outgrow the condition or have significant improvement as they get older. Eczema affects males and females equally, and is more common in people who have a personal or family history of asthma and allergies.

Common symptoms of eczema include:

In adults, eczema most often affects the hands. In children, eczema is more common in "bending" areas such as the insides of the elbows and backs of the knees. In babies, eczema is usually worst on the face, neck, and scalp.

The exact cause of eczema is not known. However, it appears to run in families and occurs more often in people who have a personal or family history of asthma, hay fever, and other allergies. This suggests that there is a genetic (hereditary) factor in the development of eczema (runs in the family).

In addition, eczema symptoms tend to flare up or get worse when the person is exposed to certain substances and situations, called triggers. Eczema triggers might include:

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