What is eczema?

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a skin condition that results in dry, red itchy skin. It can be a long-lasting, chronic condition that will flare up periodically. Children often get atopic dermatitis during their first year of life. It often appears as dry, scaly patches that form on the scalp, face, and body.

What causes atopic dermatitis (eczema)?

The cause of eczema is not known, but it is not contagious or related to your general health. It mostly runs in families with a history of atopic dermatitis, hay fever, or asthma. People with eczema have skin that is dry and easily irritated by soap, detergents, fragrances and rough fabrics. Very hot or very cold weather often aggravates eczema.


Eczema will look different in infants, children, and adults. For infants (around 2 to 3 months old), atopic dermatitis causes:

  • A dry, scaly, itchy rash that forms on the scalp and face (especially the cheeks)
  • Skin infections, due to scratching and rubbing
  • Trouble sleeping

Children between the ages of 2 and puberty often experience:

  • A rash that begins in the creases of the knees or elbows, but can form in the neck, wrists, ankles, and the creases between the legs and buttocks
  • Itchy, scaly patches where the rash appeared

In time the skin can get bumpy, thicken, lighten or darken, or itch all of the time.

For adults, atopic dermatitis often:

  • Forms in the nape of the neck or the creases of the knees or elbows
  • Causes very dry, scaly skin and a constant itch
  • Commonly affects the hands and eyelids

Treating atopic dermatitis

Since eczema patients have a chronic skin issue, no permanent cure is possible. Fortunately, we have effective ways of controlling atopic dermatitis; most people are able to live comfortably with this skin condition.

An effective treatment plan often includes skincare, medicine, and lifestyle changes. Skincare and lifestyle changes will help to prevent future flare-ups. A dermatologist-created treatment plan will include medication and therapy that are prescribed as needed and tailored specifically to you. DermPhysicians of New England can help you:

  • Control your flares
  • Prevent new flares
  • Reduce your skin inflammation
  • Treat any infections

Schedule treatments today

If you or your child suffer from eczema, schedule an appointment at our office in Burlington, Massachusetts to get a custom treatment plan. Our board-certified dermatologists will work to relieve your discomfort and prevent atopic dermatitis from getting worse. To get started, request an appointment online or give us a call at (781) 272-7022.

* Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.

Call us at (781) 272-7022 or request below.

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