Sixty percent of cases of atopic dermatitis begin in the first year of life, but usually after 2 months of age. Atopic dermatitis is often associated with a family history of atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Thirty-five percent of infants with atopic dermatitis develop asthma later in life.
The first signs typically begin with redness and scaling of the cheeks. It may extend onto the scalp, neck, forehead, wrists and extremities. Atopic dermatitis is often very itchy, and the scratching can lead to a skin infection and thickening of the skin in those areas.
A treatment plan includes prescription topical medications, skin care, and lifestyle changes. The skin care and lifestyle changes can help prevent flare-ups. These include daily moisturizing of the skin to prevent dryness and avoidance of harsh soaps, rubbing or scratching, and clothing that may trigger a flare, such as wool. Prescription topical creams/lotions are reserved only for flares.