If your skin itches and turns red from time to time, you might have eczema. This skin condition is very common in children, but adults can get it too.
1. Atopic dermatitis
Eczema is sometimes called atopic dermatitis, which is the most common form. “Atopic” refers to an allergy. People with eczema often have allergies or asthma along with itchy, red skin.
Eczema comes in a few other forms, too. Each eczema type has its own set of symptoms and triggers.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It usually starts in childhood, and often gets milder or goes away by adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is part of what doctors call the atopic triad. “Triad” means three. The other two diseases in the triad are asthma and hay fever. Many people with atopic dermatitis have all three conditions.
In atopic dermatitis:
the rash often forms in the creases of your elbows or knees
skin in areas where the rash appears may turn lighter or darker, or get thicker
small bumps may appear and leak fluid if you scratch them
babies often get the rash on their scalp and cheeks
your skin can get infected if you scratch it
2. Contact dermatitis
If you have red, irritated skin that’s caused by a reaction to substances you touch, you may have contact dermatitis. It comes in two types: Allergic contact dermatitis is an immune system reaction to an irritant like latex or metal. Irritant contact dermatitis starts when a chemical or other substance irritates your skin.
In contact dermatitis:
your skin itches, turns red, burns, and stings
itchy bumps called hives may pop up on your skin
fluid-filled blisters can form that may ooze and crust over
over time, the skin may thicken and feel scaly or leathery
3. Dyshidrotic eczema
Dyshidrotic eczema causes small blisters to form on your hands and feet. It’s more common in women than men.
In dyshidrotic eczema:
fluid-filled blisters form on your fingers, toes, palms, and soles of your feet
these blisters may itch or hurt
the skin can scale, crack, and flake