Atopic dermatitis, or constitutional eczema, is a prevalent skin condition, primarily among people with a personal or family history of asthma, hay fever, or allergies. The disease affects around 20% of children under two years of age. While most children outgrow the condition, some may experience it again later in life.

Eczema and dry skin are two skin conditions that are often confused. Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin and red patches with microvesicles that can become infected. It can appear anywhere on the body, but its location varies depending on age. For younger children, it may occur on the face, scalp, and legs. For children aged 2-3 years, it may present on the arms, legs, and face. For adolescents and adults, it may occur on the elbows, wrists, folds of the hands, ankles, feet, and neck.

On the other hand, dry skin can be caused by various factors such as wool or synthetic fabrics, allergens like pollen, heat, sweat, and skin irritants like laundry detergents, dyes, perfumes, or other chemicals. Unlike eczema, dry skin does not cause skin inflammation and microvesicles. It can affect any part of the body and is usually temporary and easily treatable with moisturizers and avoiding triggers that cause dry skin.

Rashes and itching: how to prevent them

To prevent rashes and itching, it is essential to keep the skin moisturized. Dry skin can cause eczema, so take steps to prevent it, especially in children:

  • Bathe using lukewarm water and avoid hot water.
  • Use mild soaps or products that are fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, or for sensitive skin. 
  • Bath time should be as short as possible.
  • Immediately after bathing, apply moisturizer and reapply it 2 to 3 times throughout the day.

Individuals affected by eczema often experience a cycle of itching that can be difficult to break. However, consulting a pediatrician or dermatologist to get prescribed ointments can help stop the scratching as soon as possible. Even if eczema is not curable, there are ways to manage it. People who experience skin irritation in childhood should take steps to protect themselves throughout their lives, and it is recommended that they undergo periodic dermatological examinations.