Font Size

Who Is Affected by Atopic Dermatitis

Who Is Affected by Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects 10% to 20% of children in industrialized countries and urban Africa.1 It can occur in adults but occurs mostly in young children.

  • Of children with atopic dermatitis, approximately 50% first develop symptoms in their first year of life and 30% between ages 1 and 5.1
  • Although older studies have shown that most children outgrow the condition, more recent studies report that many people continue to have relapses or to have the condition, although not as severely, as teenagers and adults.2

People with a history of atopic dermatitis often have other allergic conditions. For example:

  • Many children with atopic dermatitis develop allergic rhinitis or asthma later in childhood.
  • Some children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis also have some type of food allergy.

Atopic dermatitis affects people of all races.

The prevalence of atopic dermatitis has been increasing over the last few decades, possibly due to environmental and lifestyle changes.1



  1. Leung DYM, et al. (2008). Atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema). In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 146–158. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  2. Boguniewicz M, Leung DYM (2009). Atopic dermatitis. In N Franklin Addison Jr et al., eds., Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1083–1103. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Last RevisedApril 17, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary