Eczema questions and answers

eczema atopic dermatitis symptom skin textureEczema is an itchy, chronic eruption of the skin. Eczema can affect any part of the body, but it usually appears on the arms and behind the knees.

While doctors don’t know exactly what causes eczema, it may result from a problem in the body’s immune functions.

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about eczema.

What does eczema look like?

Though it varies from person to person, eczema is most often characterized by dry, red, itchy patches on the skin.

Who gets eczema?

It usually appears in infants, but it occurs in adults as well. It often affects people with a family history of allergies. Many people who have eczema also have asthma. Nearly half of the infants who have eczema will see a great improvement in symptoms by the time they are young adults.

How common is eczema?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that about 15 million people in the U.S. have some form of eczema.

How do I prevent breakouts?

Eczema breakouts can usually be avoided by moisturizing frequently, avoiding sudden temperature and humidity changes, reducing stress, avoiding scratchy materials in clothing, and avoiding harsh soaps and detergents.