What is atopic eczema?

Eczema  is a chronic inflammatory reaction of the skin that causes red spots, rashes, bumps, blisters or flaking skin. Eczema is also called atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis and is common. Babies and children seem to suffer more often than adults.



of all children suffer from eczema to a greater or lesser extent


In connection with dry skin, it is of great importance in atopic eczema that the moisture content of the horny layer is improved by applying oily ointment or cream. Consult your doctor or dermatologist.

For more information on atopic eczema, please see the NHS website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/

Atopic eczema

Eczema is also called atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis. With atopy it is meant that there is a clear genetic predisposition for getting eczema complaints. Although the disease is not age-related, it is common in babies and children. Eczema patches can occur on the entire body and often depend on the age of the child and the type of eczema. Babies usually have eczema on the cheeks, outside of arms and legs, behind the ears and on the head. Toddlers have more complaints on the bending side of the arms and in the knees. The severity of the symptoms is partly dependent on all kinds of external stimuli and causes.

In addition to the itch, (very) dry skin is a common complaint. The skin loses moisture due to a shortage of skin fats. The dry skin makes it more susceptible to irritating substances from outside and therefore increases the risk of eczema complaints.

Living with eczema

Living with atopic eczema is not always easy. Eczema complaints such as itching, dry skin, red spots and dander can cause considerable limitations in daily life. Sleeping, going to school, working or having social contacts is therefore difficult for many people with eczema. Often people without eczema have no idea how much someone can suffer from this skin condition. Skin complaints can play a much greater role in life than many people think. The periods in which the symptoms manifest themselves can also vary considerably. Sometimes it goes very well and sometimes there are periods with more complaints. There is not one right way to live with eczema. People react differently to different triggers, but also to care products and medicines. Everyone must integrate the condition into their life in their own way and deal with it as effectively as possible.

Rules for living with eczema

Proper skin care is important to be able to live as simply as possible. Skin care routines must be integrated into daily life. This applies to both children and adults. Preferably, very young children are also responsible for the care of their own skin. Providing a good explanation about eczema and learning ointment and lubrication instructions are prerequisites. That is not a simple task, but it does help to get eczema under control and to live with eczema as well as possible.

Eczema and stress

Eczema is influenced by many circumstances in daily life. In addition to genetic predisposition and nutrition, stress can be an influence. Eczema complaints can cause stress and eczema can get worse due to feelings of stress. People sometimes speak of stress eczema, whereby there is worsening of eczema in busy periods whether there are concerns at school, work or home. Not only negative circumstances can cause stress. Fun things like a holiday, a party or looking forward to something special can also cause stress and therefore worsening of eczema complaints.

Eczema and nutrition

Much is still unclear about the influence of nutrition on the development of eczema complaints. One expert can claim that the diet has absolutely no influence on eczema, while others claim that nutrition can have a major impact. The most important indication that nutrition can play a role in the development of atopic eczema is seen in infants and preschool children. In this group, atopic eczema often occurs in combination with a food allergy to, inter alia, cow’s milk,  eggs and peanuts. A diet free from, for example, cow’s milk can result in an improvement in eczema in children who have a proven allergy to it.


Types of eczema

The most common types are:

  • Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) – eczema due to congenital predisposition; especially with babies and children, but can still occur even in adulthood
  • Contact dermatitis – itchy skin rash after being in contact with a substance (allergen) 
  • Dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx) – a type of eczema that causes tiny blisters to erupt across the palms of the hands
  • Seborrhoeic eczema – a type of eczema where red, scaly patches develop on the sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears and scalp
  • Discoid (nummular) eczema – a type of eczema that occurs in circular or oval patches on the skin

Atopic eczema,

babies seem to suffer more from it

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