Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition that almost always starts during childhood. Although most children outgrow the condition by the time they are adults, the American Academy of Dermatology still reports that as many as one in five children have the condition before the age of five. In some cases, eczema may persist into adulthood, and in even rarer cases, instances of adult-onset eczema have been reported.
Usually, eczema first appears similar to a dry, reddened and scaly rash. It usually affects areas of the skin that are prone to dryness, such as the face, scalp, ankles and wrists. Because the condition can be especially itchy and uncomfortable for small children, it is important to visit a dermatologist for treatment for the condition as soon as possible. Often, treatment consists of medication and a change in diet, as certain foods are known to make eczema worsen. Failing to seek treatment could result in a skin infection or permanent scarring of the skin due to persistent scratching.