Atopic dermatitis can begin early. Atopic dermatitis on 2 or 3 months old child often causes:
A baby rarely gets an atopic dermatitis in his or her diaper area. The skin stays too moist for that.
When atopic dermatitis begins between 2 years of age and puberty, the child often has these symptoms:
- A rash that often begins in the creases of the elbows or knees. Other common places for the rash to appear are the neck, wrists, ankles, or crease between the buttocks and legs.
- Itchy, scaly patches where the rash appeared.
The skin with atopic dermatitis can:
- Get bumpy, looking like permanent goose bumps.
- Lighten or darken where AD appears.
- Thicken, turning leathery to protect itself from constant scratching.
- Develop knots; on the thickened skin (lichenification).
- Itch all the time; on the thickened skin (lichenification).
The thickened skin (lichenification) can itch even when the atopic dermatitis is not flaring.
Most people (90%) get atopic dermatitis before age 5. 50% of people who get atopic dermatitis during childhood continue to have milder signs and symptoms. For adults, atopic dermatitis often:
- Appears in the creases of the elbows or knees and nape of neck.
- Covers much of the body.
- Can be especially noticeable on the neck and face.
- Can be especially bad around the eyes.
- Causes very dry skin.
- Causes non-stop itch.
- Causes scaly skin — scalier than in infants and children.
- Leads to skin infections.
If a person has had atopic dermatitis for years, patches of skin may be thick and darker than the rest of the skin (or lighter). Thickened skin (lichenification )can itch all the time.
Adults who had atopic dermatitis as a child and no longer have it can have the following
- Extremely dry skin.
- Skin that is easily irritated.
- Hand eczema.
- Eye problems (eczema on eyelids, cataracts).