What is eczema?

Eczema is an itchy inflammation of the skin, also known as atopic dermatitis.

Eczema is a chronic inflammation, itching in the superficial layers of the skin. Occurs mainly in childhood and in 80 per cent of cases manifests itself during the first year of life.

It affects mostly males and is often find history of one of these diseases in the family. The cause of its occurrence is unknown, but heredity seems to be a fact that role

In Portugal, it is estimated that about 10 per cent of children are affected by the disease, being in this age group, the most frequent chronic dermatological disease, although only 1 to 2 percent suffer from serious complaints. In most situations the disease tends to greatly improve and even to disappear with age, although it may persist for the whole life. The persistence of this entity is more observed in cases where the appearance is more late.


The main symptom is itching, which can begin even before the cutaneous lesions manifest. Another characteristic of the skin of the atopic patient is the tendency to be withered, which alone can give rise to the feeling of itching and consequent desquamation.

The increased redness, inflammation, red streaks and fever are the first signs of cutaneous infection caused by atopic dermatitis.

In childhood, the lesions are red and scaly. Can reach the face, trunk and limbs. With the act of scratching, become galled and may suffer secondary infection. In babies are very frequent in the diaper area and scalp.

In adolescents and adults, the lesions are located mainly in the areas of skin folds, such as the posterior region of the knees, neck and folds of the arms. The skin of these sites becomes more coarse, rough and darkened. Usually located in these areas, the atopic dermatitis can become widespread, affecting large areas of the body.


There is no analysis to detect the eczema. The doctor makes the diagnosis depending on the characteristics of the lesions and often takes into account the existence of possible allergies to other members of the family. Although the eczema may seem too with the seborrheic dermatitis of children, we must make a distinction, because its complications and treatment are different.

In the next post, we will discuss the causes and risk factors to be taken into account for those who suffer from eczema. Keep an eye out!

Sources: Own,, Merck Manual,

The information and advice available on our Blog do not override the opinion/opinion from your doctor and/or pharmacist.

To learn more you can also visit our page dedicated to eczema treatment

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