The most common form of Eczema that affects children is called Atopic Dermatitis. Atopic Dermatitis is a condition of dry and itchy skin that usually starts at three months of age and is one of the most common reasons children see a dermatologist.
In babies, the cheeks, scalp and the outer parts of the arms and legs are usually affected. The skin can appear red, feel rough and itchy.
As children get older, rough, red and itchy areas also occur in the crooks of the arms, behind the knees and the back of the neck. Most of the time there is a family history of Eczema, allergies and/or asthma. Sometimes the itching and scratching can be so severe that it can interfere with play, school, work and sleep. Atopic Dermatitis can have a negative impact on the whole family.
Atopic Dermatitis has a tendency to improve with age. In the majority of patients the dry itchy patches clear by puberty. Some, however, will continue to experience flares into adulthood.
In the meantime, it is important to properly treat Atopic Dermatitis completely. Keeping the skin free from Atopic Dermatitis will not only improve the child’s quality of life but it will also help prevent skin infections that are most likely to happen when the Atopic Dermatitis is active.
Treatment involves gentle skin care for dry skin, the use of moisturizers and the intermittent use of topical anti-inflammatory medications such as topical corticosteroids. If your child has Atopic Dermatitis, your pediatric dermatologist can help to create a treatment plan to help during flares and to keep your child’s skin clear.
Dr. Martin Zaiac at the Greater Miami Skin and Laser Center can advise parents on the treatment options for Atopic Dermatitis.