Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. While the word "dermatitis" means inflammation of the skin, "atopic" refers to an allergic tendency, which is often inherited. These eczema sufferers have a higher risk of developing other allergic conditions (like asthma or hay fever).
Typically, eczema causes skin to become itchy, red, and dry -- even cracked and leathery. Eczema most frequently appears on the face and extremities, but it can show up in other areas, too.
Eczema is a chronic problem for many people. It is most common among infants, many of whom outgrow it before school age. Read more about eczema.