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Symptoms of Eczema

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Eczema

Symptoms of atopic dermatitis may include:

  • Itching (most common symptom)
  • Dry skin
  • Rash, usually red or scaly areas of skin
  • Areas commonly affected are:
    • Infants: face, scalp, neck, extensor surfaces (elbows and knees), trunk
    • Children: front of elbows, behind knees
    • Adults: front of elbows, behind knees, face, neck, upper chest
  • Oozing or crusting may develop from rash—especially in infants
  • Thickening, leathery skin—with long-term atopic dermatitis
  • Paleness around the mouth
  • Extra fold of skin beneath lower eyelid
  • Increased number of skin creases on the palms

Increased Skin Infections

Skin infections need medical care right away. Some signs are:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Yellowish crusting
  • Drainage of pus

Emotional Effects of Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis varies among people. Some have outbreaks that happen more often than others. Or some people have outbreaks that last a long time. If severe, outbreaks can affect quality of life. Along with discomfort, they can lead to emotional problems, such as depression or anxiety. Some people feel embarrassed about their skin rashes. This can make them feel uncomfortable around other people.

Atopic dermatitis and its treatment may be difficult for children. This is especially true when it is severe.


  • Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  • Eczema and atopic dermatitis. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/eczema-and-atopic-dermatitis/?adfree=true. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  • Eczema. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/eczema_atopic_dermatitis.html#. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  • Understanding eczema in children. National Eczema Association website. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/children. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  • What is eczema? National Eczema Association website. Available at: http://nationaleczema.org/eczema. Accessed March 23, 2022.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.