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HealthInfo Canterbury

About eczema in adults & teenagers

adult eczemaEczema, also known as atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that causes your skin to be dry, rough and itchy, and sometimes inflamed (red).

Eczema is very common in children, but it can happen in people of any age. It happens more often in people who have allergies, hay fever, or asthma, or have family members with these conditions. You cannot catch eczema off other people.

There is no cure for eczema, but you can usually control the symptoms with the right treatment.

Causes of eczema

Eczema is thought to be caused a combination of two factors. The first is an inherited problem (defect) with your skin barrier (outer layer of skin). The other factor is that your body's immune or allergic response to irritants (like dirt or pollen) is too strong.

The defect in your skin barrier means your skin becomes dry and more sensitive to irritants and infection. Moisturisers are used to improve your skin barrier.

On the next page: Living with eczema

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created March 2017. Last updated October 2019.

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Review key: HIEXZ-21485