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Atopic Dermatitis

May 2013

Handout on Health: Atopic Dermatitis (A type of eczema)

This publication is for people who have atopic dermatitis (often called “eczema”), parents and caregivers of children with atopic dermatitis, and others interested in learning more about the disease. The publication describes the disease and its symptoms and contains information about diagnosis and treatment, as well as current research efforts supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health (NIH). It also discusses issues such as skin care and quality of life for people with atopic dermatitis. If you have further questions after reading this publication, you may wish to discuss them with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.

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What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects the skin. It is not contagious; it cannot be passed from one person to another. The word “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. “Atopic” refers to a group of diseases in which there is often an inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy. Scratching leads to redness, swelling, cracking, “weeping” clear fluid, and finally, crusting and scaling. In most cases, there are periods of time when the disease is worse (called exacerbations or flares) followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely (called remissions). As some children with atopic dermatitis grow older, their skin disease improves or disappears altogether, although their skin often remains dry and easily irritated. In others, atopic dermatitis continues to be a significant problem in adulthood.

Atopic dermatitis is often referred to as “eczema,” which is a general term for the several types of inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Several have very similar symptoms. Types of eczema are described in the box below.

Who Has Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is very common. It occurs equally in males and females and affects an estimated 9 to 30 percent of people in the United States. Although atopic dermatitis may occur at any age, it most often begins in infancy and childhood. Onset after age 30 is less common and is often caused by exposure of the skin to harsh or wet conditions. People who live in cities and in dry climates appear more likely to develop this condition.

Types of Eczema (Dermatitis)

  • Allergic contact eczema (dermatitis). A red, itchy, weepy reaction where the skin has come into contact with a substance that the immune system recognizes as foreign, such as poison ivy or certain preservatives in creams and lotions.
  • Atopic dermatitis. A chronic skin disease characterized by itchy, inflamed skin.
  • Contact eczema. A localized reaction that includes redness, itching, and burning where the skin has come into contact with an allergen (an allergy-causing substance) or with an irritant such as an acid, a cleaning agent, or other chemical.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema. Irritation of the skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet characterized by clear, deep blisters that itch and burn.
  • Neurodermatitis. Scaly patches of the skin on the head, lower legs, wrists, or forearms caused by a localized itch (such as an insect bite) that become intensely irritated when scratched.
  • Nummular eczema. Coin-shaped patches of irritated skin—most common on the arms, back, buttocks, and lower legs—that may be crusted, scaling, and extremely itchy.
  • Seborrheic eczema. Yellowish, oily, scaly patches of skin on the scalp, face, and occasionally other parts of the body.
  • Stasis dermatitis. A skin irritation on the lower legs, generally related to circulatory problems.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

The cause of atopic dermatitis is not known, but the disease seems to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental factors.

Children are more likely to develop this disorder if a parent has had it or another atopic disease like asthma or hay fever. If both parents have an atopic disease, the likelihood increases. Although some people outgrow skin symptoms, approximately half of children with atopic dermatitis go on to develop hay fever or asthma. Environmental factors can bring on symptoms of atopic dermatitis at any time in affected individuals.

Atopic dermatitis is also associated with malfunction of the body’s immune system: the system that recognizes and helps fight bacteria and viruses that invade the body. The immune system can become misguided and create inflammation in the skin, even in the absence of a major infection. This can be viewed as a form of autoimmunity, where a body reacts against its own tissues.

In the past, doctors thought that atopic dermatitis was caused by an emotional disorder. We now know that emotional factors, such as stress, can make the condition worse, but they do not cause the disease.

Skin Features Associated With Atopic Dermatitis

  • Atopic pleat (Dennie-Morgan fold)—an extra fold of skin that develops under the eye
  • Cheilitis—inflammation of the skin on and around the lips
  • Hyperlinear palms—increased number of skin creases on the palms
  • Hyperpigmented eyelids—eyelids that have become darker in color from inflammation or hay fever
  • Ichthyosis—dry, rectangular scales on the skin
  • Keratosis pilaris—small, rough bumps, generally on the face, upper arms, and thighs
  • Lichenification—thick, leathery skin resulting from constant scratching and rubbing
  • Papules—small raised bumps that may open when scratched and become crusty and infected
  • Urticaria—hives (red, raised bumps) that may occur after exposure to an allergen, at the beginning of flares, or after exercise or a hot bath.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

Symptoms (signs) vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are dry, itchy skin and rashes on the face, inside the elbows and behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. Itching is the most important symptom of atopic dermatitis. Scratching and rubbing in response to itching irritates the skin, increases inflammation, and actually increases itchiness. Itching is a particular problem during sleep when conscious control of scratching is lost.

The appearance of the skin that is affected by atopic dermatitis depends on the amount of scratching and the presence of secondary skin infections. The skin may be red and scaly or thick and leathery, contain small raised bumps, or leak fluid and become crusty and infected. The box above lists common skin features of the disease. These features can also be found in people who do not have atopic dermatitis or who have other types of skin disorders.

Atopic dermatitis may also affect the skin around the eyes, the eyelids, and the eyebrows and lashes. Scratching and rubbing the eye area can cause the skin to redden and swell. Some people with atopic dermatitis develop an extra fold of skin under their eyes. Patchy loss of eyebrows and eyelashes may also result from scratching or rubbing.

Researchers have noted differences in the skin of people with atopic dermatitis that may contribute to the symptoms of the disease. The outer layer of skin, called the epidermis, is divided into two parts: an inner part containing moist, living cells, and an outer part, known as the horny layer or stratum corneum, containing dry, flattened, dead cells. Under normal conditions the stratum corneum acts as a barrier, keeping the rest of the skin from drying out and protecting other layers of skin from damage caused by irritants and infections. When this barrier is damaged, irritants act more intensely on the skin.

The skin of a person with atopic dermatitis loses moisture from the epidermal layer, allowing the skin to become very dry and reducing its protective abilities. Thus, when combined with the abnormal skin immune system, the person’s skin is more likely to become infected by bacteria or viruses.

Stages of Atopic Dermatitis

When atopic dermatitis occurs during infancy and childhood, it affects each child differently in terms of both onset and severity of symptoms. In infants, atopic dermatitis typically begins around 6 to 12 weeks of age. It may first appear around the cheeks and chin as a patchy facial rash, which can progress to red, scaling, oozing skin. The skin may become infected. Once the infant becomes more mobile and begins crawling, exposed areas, such as the inner and outer parts of the arms and legs, may also be affected. An infant with atopic dermatitis may be restless and irritable because of the itching and discomfort of the disease.

In childhood, the rash tends to occur behind the knees and inside the elbows; on the sides of the neck; around the mouth; and on the wrists, ankles, and hands. Often, the rash begins with papules that become hard and scaly when scratched. The skin around the lips may be inflamed, and constant licking of the area may lead to small, painful cracks in the skin around the mouth.

In some children, the disease goes into remission for a long time, only to come back at the onset of puberty when hormones, stress, and the use of irritating skin care products or cosmetics may cause the disease to flare.

Although a number of people who developed atopic dermatitis as children also experience symptoms as adults, it is also possible for the disease to show up first in adulthood. The pattern in adults is similar to that seen in children; that is, the disease may be widespread or limited to only a few parts of the body. For example, only the hands or feet may be affected and become dry, itchy, red, and cracked. Sleep patterns and work performance may be affected, and long-term use of medications to treat the atopic dermatitis may cause complications. Adults with atopic dermatitis also have a predisposition toward irritant contact dermatitis, where the skin becomes red and inflamed from contact with detergents, wool, friction from clothing, or other potential irritants. It is more likely to occur in occupations involving frequent hand washing or exposure to chemicals. Some people develop a rash around their nipples. These localized symptoms are difficult to treat. Because adults may also develop cataracts, the doctor may recommend regular eye exams.

Diagnosing Atopic Dermatitis

Each person with atopic dermatitis experiences a unique combination of symptoms, which may vary in severity over time. The doctor will base a diagnosis on the symptoms the patient experiences and may need to see the patient several times to make an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other diseases and conditions that might cause skin irritation. In some cases, the family doctor or pediatrician may refer the patient to a dermatologist (doctor specializing in skin disorders) or allergist (allergy specialist) for further evaluation.

A medical history may help the doctor better understand the nature of a patient’s symptoms, when they occur, and their possible causes. The doctor may ask about family history of allergic disease; whether the patient also has diseases such as hay fever or asthma; and about exposure to irritants, sleep disturbances, any foods that seem to be related to skin flares, previous treatments for skin-related symptoms, and use of steroids or other medications. Features of the disease fall into two categories: major features and minor features. Some of these features are listed in the box below.

Currently, there is no single test to diagnose atopic dermatitis. However, there are some tests that can give the doctor an indication of allergic sensitivity.

Pricking the skin with a needle that contains a small amount of a suspected allergen may be helpful in identifying factors that trigger flares of atopic dermatitis. Negative results on skin tests may help rule out the possibility that certain substances cause skin inflammation. Positive skin prick test results are difficult to interpret in people with atopic dermatitis because the skin is very sensitive to many substances, and there can be many positive test sites that are not meaningful to a person’s disease at the time. Positive results simply indicate that the individual has immunoglobulin E or IgE (allergic) antibodies to the substance tested. IgE controls the immune system’s allergic response and is often high in atopic dermatitis.

Major and Minor Features of Atopic Dermatitis

Major Features

  • Intense itching
  • Characteristic rash in locations typical of the disease
  • Chronic or repeatedly occurring symptoms
  • Personal or family history of atopic disorders (eczema, hay fever, asthma).

Some Minor Features

  • Early age of onset
  • Dry skin that may also have patchy scales or rough bumps
  • High levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody, in the blood
  • Numerous skin creases on the palms
  • Hand or foot involvement
  • Inflammation around the lips
  • Nipple eczema
  • Susceptibility to skin infection
  • Positive allergy skin tests.

If the quantity of IgE antibodies to a food in the blood is above a certain level, it is indicative of a food allergy. If a food allergy is suspected, a person might be asked to record everything eaten and note any reactions. Physician-supervised food challenges (that is, the introduction of a food) following a period of food elimination may be necessary to determine if symptomatic food allergy is present. Identifying the food allergen may be difficult when a person is also being exposed to other possible allergens at the same time or symptoms may be triggered by other factors, such as infection, heat, and humidity.

Factors That Make Atopic Dermatitis Worse

Many factors or conditions can make symptoms of atopic dermatitis worse, further triggering the already overactive immune system, aggravating the itch-scratch cycle, and increasing damage to the skin. These factors can be broken down into two main categories: irritants and allergens. Emotional factors and some infections and illnesses can also influence atopic dermatitis.

Irritants are substances that directly affect the skin and, when present in high enough concentrations with long enough contact, cause the skin to become red and itchy or to burn. Frequent wetting and drying of the skin may affect the skin barrier function. Also, wool or synthetic fibers and rough or poorly fitting clothing can rub the skin, trigger inflammation, and cause the itch-scratch cycle to begin. Soaps and detergents may have a drying effect and worsen itching, and some perfumes and cosmetics may irritate the skin. Exposure to certain substances, such as solvents, dust, or sand, may also make the condition worse. Cigarette smoke may irritate the eyelids.

Allergens are substances from foods, plants, animals, or the air that inflame the skin because the immune system overreacts to the substance. Inflammation occurs even when the person is exposed to small amounts of the substance for a limited time. Although it is known that allergens in the air, such as dust mites, pollens, molds, and dander from animal hair or skin, may worsen the symptoms of atopic dermatitis in some people, scientists aren’t certain whether inhaling these allergens or their actual penetration of the skin causes the problems. When people with atopic dermatitis come into contact with an irritant or allergen they are sensitive to, inflammation producing cells become active. These cells release chemicals that cause itching and redness. As the person responds by scratching and rubbing the skin, further damage occurs.

Common Irritants

  • Wool or synthetic fibers
  • Soaps and detergents
  • Some perfumes and cosmetics
  • Substances such as chlorine, mineral oil, or solvents
  • Dust or sand
  • Cigarette smoke.

Children with atopic disease tend to have a higher prevalence of food allergy than those in the general population. An allergic reaction to food can cause skin inflammation (generally an itchy red rash), gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea), and/or upper respiratory tract symptoms (congestion, sneezing, and wheezing). The most common allergenic (allergy-causing) foods are eggs, milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish.

In addition to irritants and allergens, emotional factors, skin infections, and temperature and climate play a role in atopic dermatitis. Although the disease itself is not caused by emotional factors, it can be made worse by stress, anger, and frustration. Interpersonal problems or major life changes, such as divorce, job changes, or the death of a loved one, can also make the disease worse.

Bathing without proper moisturizing afterward is a common factor that triggers a flare of atopic dermatitis. The low humidity of winter or the dry year-round climate of some geographic areas can make the disease worse, as can overheated indoor areas and long or hot baths and showers. Alternately sweating and chilling can trigger a flare in some people. Bacterial infections can also trigger or increase the severity of atopic dermatitis. If a patient experiences a sudden flare of illness, the doctor may check for infection.

Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

Treatment is more effective when a partnership develops that includes the patient, family members, and doctor. The doctor will suggest a treatment plan based on the patient’s age, symptoms, and general health. The patient or family member providing care plays a large role in the success of the treatment plan by carefully following the doctor’s instructions and paying attention to what is or is not helpful. Most patients will notice improvement with proper skin care and lifestyle changes.

The two main goals in treating atopic dermatitis are healing the skin and preventing flares. It is important for the patient and family members to note any changes in the skin’s condition in response to treatment, and to be persistent in identifying the treatment that seems to work best.

Medications: A variety of medications are used to treat atopic dermatitis.

Corticosteroid creams and ointments have been used for many years to treat atopic dermatitis and other autoimmune diseases affecting the skin.

When topical corticosteroids are not effective, the doctor may prescribe a systemic corticosteroid, which is taken by mouth or injected instead of being applied directly to the skin. Typically, these medications are used only in resistant cases and only given for short periods of time.

Antibiotics to treat skin infections may necessary. If viral or fungal infections are present, the doctor may also prescribe specific medications to treat those infections.

Certain antihistamines that cause drowsiness can reduce nighttime scratching and allow more restful sleep when taken at bedtime. This effect can be particularly helpful for patients whose nighttime scratching makes the disease worse.

Topical calcineurin inhibitors decrease inflammation in the skin and help prevent flares.

Barrier repair moisturizers reduce water loss and work to rebuild the skin.

Phototherapy: Use of ultraviolet A or B light waves, alone or combined, can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate dermatitis. If the doctor thinks that phototherapy may be useful to treat the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, he or she will use the minimum exposure necessary and monitor the skin carefully.

Treating Atopic Dermatitis in Infants and Children

  • Give lukewarm baths.
  • Apply lubricant immediately following the bath.
  • Keep child’s fingernails filed short.
  • Select soft cotton fabrics when choosing clothing.
  • Consider using sedating antihistamines to promote sleep and reduce scratching at night.
  • Keep the child cool; avoid situations where overheating occurs.
  • Learn to recognize skin infections and seek treatment promptly.
  • Attempt to distract the child with activities to keep him or her from scratching.
  • Identify and remove irritants and allergens.

Skin care: Healing the skin and keeping it healthy are important to prevent further damage and enhance quality of life. Developing and sticking with a daily skin care routine is critical to preventing flares.

A lukewarm bath helps to cleanse and moisturize the skin without drying it excessively. Because soaps can be drying to the skin, the doctor may recommend use of a mild bar soap or nonsoap cleanser. Bath oils are not usually helpful.

After bathing, a person should air-dry the skin, or pat it dry gently (avoiding rubbing or brisk drying), and then apply a moisturizer to seal in the water that has been absorbed into the skin during bathing. A moisturizer increases the rate of healing and establishes a barrier against further drying and irritation. Lotions that have a high water or alcohol content evaporate more quickly, and alcohol may cause stinging. Therefore, they generally are not the best choice. Creams and ointments work better at healing the skin.

Another key to protecting and restoring the skin is taking steps to avoid repeated skin infections. Signs of skin infection include tiny pustules (pus-filled bumps), oozing cracks or sores, or crusty yellow blisters. If symptoms of a skin infection develop, the doctor should be consulted and treatment should begin as soon as possible.

Protection from allergen exposure: The doctor may suggest reducing exposure to a suspected allergen. For example, the presence of the house dust mite can be limited by encasing mattresses and pillows in special dust-proof covers, frequently washing bedding in hot water, and removing carpeting. However, there is no way to completely rid the environment of airborne allergens.

Changing the diet may not always relieve symptoms of atopic dermatitis. A change may be helpful, however, when the medical history, laboratory studies, and specific symptoms strongly suggest a food allergy. It is up to the patient and his or her family and physician to decide whether the dietary restrictions are appropriate. Unless properly monitored by a physician or dietitian, diets with many restrictions can contribute to serious nutritional problems, especially in children.

Atopic Dermatitis and Quality of Life

Although the symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be difficult and uncomfortable, the disease can be successfully managed. People with atopic dermatitis can lead healthy, productive lives. The keys to quality of life lie in being well-informed; being aware of symptoms and their possible cause; and developing a partnership involving the patient or caregiving family member, medical doctor, and other health professionals. Good communication is essential. (See “Tips for Working With Your Doctor.”)

When a child has atopic dermatitis, the entire family may be affected. It is helpful if families have additional support to help them cope with the stress and frustration associated with the disease. A child may be fussy and difficult and unable to keep from scratching and rubbing the skin. Distracting the child and providing activities that keep the hands busy are helpful but require much effort on the part of the parents or caregivers. Another issue families face is the social and emotional stress associated with changes in appearance caused by atopic dermatitis. The child may face difficulty in school or with social relationships and may need additional support and encouragement from family members.

Adults with atopic dermatitis can enhance their quality of life by caring regularly for their skin and being mindful of the effects of the disease and how to treat them. Adults should develop a skin care regimen as part of their daily routine, which can be adapted as circumstances and skin conditions change. Stress management and relaxation techniques may help decrease the likelihood of flares. Developing a network of support that includes family, friends, health professionals, and support groups or organizations can be beneficial. Chronic anxiety and depression may be relieved by psychological therapy.

Recognizing the situations when scratching is most likely to occur may also help. For example, many patients find that they scratch more when they are idle, and they do better when engaged in activities that keep the hands occupied. Counseling also may be helpful to identify or change career goals if a job involves contact with irritants or involves frequent hand washing, such as work in a kitchen or auto machine shop.

Tips for Working With Your Doctor

  • Provide complete, accurate medical information.
  • Make a list of your questions and concerns in advance.
  • Be honest and share your point of view with the doctor.
  • Ask for clarification or further explanation if you need it.
  • Talk to other members of the health care team, such as nurses, therapists, or pharmacists.
  • Don’t hesitate to discuss sensitive subjects with your doctor.
  • Discuss changes to medical treatment or medications with your doctor.

Atopic Dermatitis and Vaccination Against Smallpox

Although scientists are working to develop safer vaccines, individuals diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (or eczema) should not receive the current smallpox vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a U.S. Government organization, individuals who have ever been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, even if the condition is mild or not presently active, are more likely to develop a serious complication if they are exposed to the virus from the smallpox vaccine.

People with atopic dermatitis should exercise caution when coming into close physical contact with a person who has been recently vaccinated, and make certain the vaccinated person has covered the vaccination site or taken other precautions until the scab falls off (about 3 weeks). Those who have had physical contact with a vaccinated person’s unhealed vaccination site or to their bedding or other items that might have touched that site should notify their doctor, particularly if they develop a new or unusual rash.

During a smallpox outbreak, these vaccination recommendations may change. People with atopic dermatitis who have been exposed to smallpox should consult their doctor about vaccination.

Additional information about atopic dermatitis and smallpox vaccination is available from CDC. (See “For More Information”)

What Research Is Being Conducted on Atopic Dermatitis?

Researchers supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are gaining a better understanding of what causes atopic dermatitis and how it can be managed, treated, and, ultimately, prevented. Some promising avenues of research are described below.

Genetics: Although atopic dermatitis runs in families, the role of genetics (inheritance) remains unclear. It does appear that more than one gene is involved in the disease.

Research has helped shed light on the way atopic dermatitis is inherited. Studies show that children are at increased risk for developing the disorder if there is a family history of other atopic disease, such as hay fever or asthma. The risk is significantly higher if both parents have an atopic disease. In addition, a person whose fraternal (nonidentical) twin has atopic dermatitis is three times more likely to have atopic dermatitis than someone in the general population. Studies of identical twins show that a person whose identical twin has atopic dermatitis is even more likely to have atopic dermatitis than someone in the general population. These findings suggest that genes play an important role in determining who gets the disease.

Also, scientists have discovered mutations in a certain gene that plays a role in the production of a protein called filaggrin. The filaggrin protein is normally found in the outermost layer of the skin and functions as a component of the skin barrier. The gene mutation disrupts filaggrin’s ability to maintain a normal skin barrier and appears to be a genetic factor that predisposes people to develop atopic dermatitis and other diseases in which the skin barrier is compromised.

Researchers are hoping to answer more questions about genetics and determine what other genes are responsible for predisposing people to develop atopic dermatitis.

Skin development and maintenance: Discoveries about how the body creates and maintains skin will be helpful in searching for causes and treatments for diseases like atopic dermatitis in which the skin barrier breaks down. Investigators are trying to find out if drugs that are already on the market can help repair the skin barrier. Also, they are looking at melanin, the component of skin that gives it pigment, to see if there is a link between melanin production and regulation of skin function.

For babies that may be at high risk for developing atopic dermatitis, investigators are trying to find out what effects emollients may have if applied in infancy before symptoms appear. Others are looking at what cells are triggered by stress and how those cells contribute to skin breakdown.

Understanding itch: One of the most difficult symptoms of atopic dermatitis, itching, is being studied to determine what mechanisms trigger the sensation of itch. Researchers are studying how the nervous system and the immune system communicate to cause the inflammation, itch, and pain seen in atopic dermatitis. Also, in an attempt to break the itch-scratch cycle, researchers are investigating how the brain and the skin are working together to make scratching an itch more likely to make the skin itch even more.

Immune system imbalance: Researchers are trying to understand the role of dendritic cells, which are cells found in the skin and other tissues of the body that initiate an immune response. Other researchers are trying to see what other factors play a role in the immune response, causing inflammation like that seen in atopic dermatitis.

Controlling Atopic Dermatitis

  • Prevent scratching or rubbing whenever possible.
  • Protect skin from excessive moisture, irritants, and rough clothing.
  • Maintain a cool, stable temperature and consistent humidity levels.
  • Limit exposure to dust, cigarette smoke, pollens, and animal dander.
  • Recognize and limit emotional stress.

More information on research is available from the following websites:

  • NIH Clinical Research Trials and You was designed to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. Visitors to the website will find information about the basics of participating in a clinical trial, first-hand stories from actual clinical trial volunteers, explanations from researchers, and links to how to search for a trial or enroll in a research-matching program.
  • ClinicalTrials.gov offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions.
  • NIH RePORTER is an electronic tool that allows users to search a repository of both intramural and extramural NIH-funded research projects from the past 25 years and access publications (since 1985) and patents resulting from NIH funding.
  • PubMed is a free service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that lets you search millions of journal citations and abstracts in the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences.

Hope for the Future

Although the symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be difficult and uncomfortable, the disease can be successfully managed. People with atopic dermatitis can lead healthy, productive lives. As scientists learn more about atopic dermatitis and what causes it, they continue to move closer to effective treatments, and perhaps, ultimately, a cure.

For More Information

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health

1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484
Toll Free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Website: http://www.cdc.gov

Other Resources

American Academy of Dermatology

Website: http://www.aad.org

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

Website: http://www.aaaai.org

National Eczema Association for Science And Education

Website: http://www.nationaleczema.org

Inflammatory Skin Disease Institute

Website: http://www.isdionline.org

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network

Website: http://www.foodallergy.org

Acknowledgments

The NIAMS gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the following individuals in the preparation and review of the original version of this publication: Joanne Cono, M.D., Sc.M., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Kevin Cooper, M.D., Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH; Jon Hanifin, M.D., Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR; Donald Leung, M.D., Ph.D., National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO; Alan Moshell, M.D., NIAMS/NIH; Amy Paller, M.D., Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Hugh Sampson, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY; Maria Turner, M.D., National Cancer Institute, NIH; and LaDonna Williams, Inflammatory Skin Disease Institute, Newport News, VA.

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health (NIH), is to support research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. The NIAMS Information Clearinghouse is a public service sponsored by NIAMS that provides health information and information sources. Additional information can be found on the NIAMS website at www.niams.nih.gov.

For Your Information

This publication contains information about medications used to treat the health condition discussed here. When this publication was developed, we included the most up-to-date (accurate) information available. Occasionally, new information on medication is released.

For updates and for any questions about any medications you are taking, please contact

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Toll Free: 888–INFO–FDA (888–463–6332)
Website: http://www.fda.gov

For additional information on specific medications, visit Drugs@FDA at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda. Drugs@FDA is a searchable catalog of FDA-approved drug products.

For updates and questions about statistics, please contact

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics

Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs

This publication is not copyrighted. Readers are encouraged to duplicate and distribute as many copies as needed.

Additional copies of this publication are available from:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Information Clearinghouse
National Institutes of Health

1 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Phone: 301-495-4484
Toll Free: 877-22-NIAMS (877-226-4267)
TTY: 301-565-2966
Fax: 301-718-6366
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov

NIH Publication No. 13-4272

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