Atopic dermatitis, also called atopic eczema, the most common inflammatory skin disease worldwide, presents as generalised skin dryness, itch, and rash.
It typically affects people with an ‘atopic tendency’ clustering with hay fever, asthma, and food allergies. All races can be affected; some races are more susceptible to developing atopic dermatitis, and genetic studies are showing marked diversity of the condition’s extent (heterogeneity) between populations.
Atopic dermatitis usually starts in infancy, affecting up to 20% of children. Approximately 80% of children affected develop it before the age of 6 years. All ages can be affected. Although it can settle in late childhood and adolescence, the prevalence in young adults up to 26 years of age is still 5–15%.