defects in the skin barrier, allowing moisture out and germs in
Atopic dermatitis usually begins during infancy or childhood. But it can strike people at any age.
Most often, it affects skin on the:
back of the knees
Over time, scratching the skin can cause it to become thick and red. Scratching can also create wounds that become infected. Irritants that can make symptoms of atopic dermatitis worse include:
Foods, dust mites, and other allergy triggers can also make symptoms worse.
Treatments for atopic dermatitis include:
Products to lubricate and moisturize the skin
Steroid creams and ointments
Drugs that control the immune system
Antibiotics to treat infections
Ultraviolet light, alone or with a drug called psoralen
There are two types of contact dermatitis:
irritant contact dermatitis
allergic contact dermatitis
These types of eczema can develop after a substance damages the skin. These include chemicals and frequent hand washing.
Irritant contact dermatitis can develop after touching a strong irritant one time or by coming into contact with the irritating substance repeatedly.
Contact dermatitis can also develop after a person touches an allergy-triggering substance, such as:
The hands are especially vulnerable to developing contact dermatitis. People can develop contact dermatitis even if they don't have atopic dermatitis.
Treatments for irritant contact dermatitis include:
moisturizers for the skin
Treatments for contact dermatitis from allergic triggers also include steroid drugs. These are rubbed on the skin or taken as a pill.
For either type of contact dermatitis, antibiotics may be necessary. Avoiding future contact with the irritant or allergy trigger is also important. Wearing gloves can help protect the skin on the hands, which are often affected.