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Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, often occurs in young children, but it can affect people at any age. Symptoms include dry, scaly patches on the skin, especially on the scalp, face, arms, and legs. Eczema is ofen very itchy, and scratching can lead to a skin infection.

Around the world, between 10% and 20% of children have eczema. It often resolves before adulthood, however, if it doesn’t, it can be a chronic lifelong disease. Eczema is much more common today than it was 30 years ago. Dermatologists are not sure why. Factors that increase the risk of eczema include a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever, living in a developed country, and living in a cold climate. Foods do not cause eczema but some studies suggest that food allergies can make eczema worse. Children who have eczema often have food allergies to these foods — milk and foods that contain milk (e.g., yogurt and cheese), nuts, and shellfish.

Treatment cannot cure eczema, but it can control it. At Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute, our treatment plan often includes medication, skin care, and lifestyle changes.