Atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema) is the most common type of eczema.1 The most obvious sign of atopic dermatitis is when the skin becomes inflamed leading to red, dry, itchy skin that can appear on any part of the body but often presents on creases of the elbows or behind the knees.1

Atopic dermatitis is a disease caused by an overreaction of the immune system, the body’s natural defence system.2 Understanding what happens on the inside may help to better manage the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Watch the video to learn more.


In the UK, approximately, 1.5 million (3%) of adults have atopic dermatitis, affecting men and women equally.3,4,5 One can develop atopic dermatitis at any age however, atopic dermatitis frequently presents during infancy or childhood. If a family member suffers with atopic dermatitis, an individual is more likely to develop the condition.3 Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition, which means it can be a life-long disease.6

Atopic dermatitis is more than just a skin condition. It can affect someone’s sleep, ability to concentrate, personal relationships and confidence to socialise.7,8,9,10 People who have moderate or severe atopic dermatitis can also experience symptoms of anxiety and depression due to their disease.11 Find out more about the impact of atopic dermatitis.


From stress to food intolerance, atopic dermatitis can flare due to a wide variety of triggers however, a trigger that affects one person may have no effect on another. As a result of this, it is important to track when you have a flare-up, allowing you to begin to identify what the key triggers may be for your atopic dermatitis. Such tracking can be done with EZTrack. When experiencing a flare, EZTrack allows you to take images of your skin as well as answer simple questions, including what potential triggers may have contributed to this flare. These reports can be shared with your healthcare professional and will ultimately allow you to take control of your atopic dermatitis.


AD vs Eczema

Eczema is a common word that most people have heard of but is it the same with Atopic Dermatitis? If you find it hard to explain the differences, check out our article below.

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema

Do you find that people often don’t know what atopic dermatitis (AD) is, but they have heard of eczema? Eczema is much more of a widely known term, but it may surprise many to know that there are actually 7 different types of eczema, all with some similarities and differences. A better understanding of these different forms of eczema will help people better understand the causes, symptoms and how best to treat them13.

The 7 types of eczema are:

Atopic dermatitis:

The most common form of eczema impacting 15-20% of children and approximately 1-3% of adults worldwide14. The most well-documented symptom of AD is the widespread itch15. As described in ‘understanding the cause’, AD is caused by a combination of factors that leads to an imbalance within your immune system, leading to inflammation under the skin14,15. Whilst AD signs and symptoms can appear all over the body, in adults, common areas include the face, neck, upper arms and elbow and knee creases16. If you’d like to find out more about the immunology behind AD, click here.

Contact dermatitis:

Unlike AD, contact dermatitis doesn’t run in families and isn’t linked to other allergic conditions such as hay fever or asthma. Contact dermatitis is commonly identified by irritation or inflammation after coming into contact with substances. This contact will then trigger an allergic reaction which might cause a flare17.

Dyshidrotic eczema:

Dyshidrotic eczema presents as small, intensely itchy blisters on the palms of your hands, soles of your feet and the edges of your fingers and toes. Similarly to AD, dyshidrotic eczema can also run in families. It is also more common if you also have another type of eczema18.


Although neurodermatitis can sometimes be used instead of AD, it is often used to describe a form of eczema that is confined to just one or two areas of the body that look like patches on the skin (unlike AD which is widespread across the body). The most common areas that are affected by neurodermatitis are the feet, ankles, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck, and scalp. These patches of affected skin appear thick and leathery which leads to pronounced skin lines and red, brown, or grey discolouration19.

Nummular (discoid) eczema:

Nummular (discoid) eczema presents as scattered, circular, itchy patches that sometimes ooze. It can develop as a reaction to other types of eczema20.

Seborrheic dermatitis:

Seborrheic dermatitis is identified by redness, swelling and greasy scaling. It appears on the skin where you find high numbers of ‘sebaceous’ glands. These are glands that produce oil. Examples of where you find these glands and therefore this type of eczema is the upper back, nose, and scalp21.

Stasis (gravitational) dermatitis:

Statis (gravitational) dermatitis is a type of eczema that usually affects people over the age of 50. It occurs in people who have veins that aren’t working efficiently, leading to poor circulation in the lower legs. Some of the symptoms include itching and dryness22.

As we have seen, even the term eczema isn’t simple, it’s a blanket term to describe lots of different types of skin conditions and therefore it can be complicated to distinguish what type of eczema you or your child may have. If you believe you or your child are suffering from a type of eczema, why not talk to your healthcare professional.

  1. NHS Choices. Atopic Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis). Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  2. European Dermatology Forum. Guidelines to treatment. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  3. Atopic Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  4. Nutten S. Atopic Dermatitis: Global Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Ann Nutr Metab 2015;66 (suppl 1): 8–16.
  5. Office for National Statistics. 2014 UK mid-year population estimate. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  6. Leung D.Y.M, Nicklas R and Li J. Disease management of atopic dermatitis: an updated practice parameter. Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, page 93(3 Suppl 2):S1-21, 2004.
  7. NHS Choices. Atopic Eczema - Complications. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  8. Kurwa HA, Finlay AY. Dermatology in-patient management greatly improves life quality. Br J Dermatol 1995; 133: 575-578.
  9. Silverberg JI, Garg NK, Paller AS et al. Sleep disturbances in adults with eczema are associated with impaired overall health: a US population-based study. J Invest Dermatol 2015; 135(1): 56-66.
  10. Leung D.Y.M, Nicklas R and Li J. Disease management of atopic dermatitis: an updated practice parameter. Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters, Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, page 93(3 Suppl 2):S1-21, 2004.
  11. Simpson et al. Patient burden of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (AD). Am Acad Dermatol, pp. 74(3):491-498, 2016.
  12. Sanofi Data on File. March 2018.
  13. National Eczema Association. An overview of the different types of eczema. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  14. AJMC. Overview of Atopic Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  15. National Eczema Association. Atopic Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  16. Skin of Colour Society. Eczema. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  17. National Eczema Association. Contact Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  18. National Eczema Association. Dyshidrotic Eczema. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  19. National Eczema Association. Neurodermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  20. National Eczema Association. Nummular Eczema. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  21. National Eczema Association. Seborrheic Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
  22. National Eczema Association. Stasis Dermatitis. Available at: (Accessed May 2022).
Would you like to assess how much control you have had over your AD in the past week?