Eczema/atopic Dermatitis



  • Atopic dermatitis is the most common cause of eczema and the terms are often used synonymously:
    • Associated with allergic diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis
  • Eczema literally means “out boil” and refers to spongiosis, the process where microvesicles form and rupture, leaving erythema, edema, crusting, and oozing
  • Pruritus is highly characteristic:
    • Patient scratching causes skin breakdown with oozing and crusting
    • Chronic response is epidermal hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis
  • 90% of patients colonize with Staphylococcus aureus, and are prone to episodes of superinfection

Risk Factors

  • Family history of atopy (asthma, allergic rhinitis)
  • Mutation of the filaggrin protein (part of the epidermal barrier) is strongly associated


Atopic dermatitis is caused by a deficit in epidermal integrity that allows foreign substances to enter and trigger immune responses

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