What Are the Differences Between Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema


Atopic dermatitis and eczema are two different skin conditions. While there are similarities between the two and are both cases of inflamed or irritated skin, they also have key differences. These two conditions have been used interchangeably, but here are their main points of contrast:

Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis: Main Differences

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition affecting the skin and happens when components of the immune system react to a trigger. Eczema is also a chronic condition, but it is milder atopic dermatitis.

Both are characterized by itchy and inflamed skin, though eczema is an earlier stage of atopic dermatitis. 

Atopic dermatitis, or AD, affects the upper layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. Eczema, also known as dermatitis, happens in the first two layers of the skin, known as the keratin layer and the stratum corneum.

Atopic dermatitis affects infants and children but can also affect adults. Eczema is mostly found in younger children and infants, with symptoms disappearing by adulthood.

Types of Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema differs in severity, and for this reason, there are different types of eczema and atopic dermatitis. These types also have other symptoms, triggers, and causes. The main types of eczema are:

  • Atopic Dermatitis

Few types of eczema are as debilitating as atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, causes itchy, dry, and flaky skin. The condition is chronic and is accompanied by other symptoms that may not be present in different types of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is caused by the immune system reacting to a trigger. Common triggers include stress and cold environments.

  • Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin inflammation caused by contact with an irritant or allergen. While it is not as severe as other forms of eczema, it is a more severe case of dermatitis. Contact dermatitis has also been recognized as a form of allergic reaction.

  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes rashes, scaly, and itchy skin and is characterized by oil production. It is known as the cradle cap of infants, and when it occurs in adults, it is common along the scalp and face. It can also affect the joints and causes inflammation and itching.

  • Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis is a type of eczema that causes inflammation due to not having enough blood flow to the skin area. It primarily affects the lower legs, and the skin becomes scaly and itchy. It is common in people who are overweight and have diabetes.

Treating Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis

When it comes to treating eczema and atopic dermatitis, you have many options. Doctors usually prescribe a combination of topical therapies, such as creams or lotions. Your doctor may prescribe oral medications to control the symptoms in some cases. You may also undergo phototherapy, which uses light to treat the condition. While there is no cure for eczema and atopic dermatitis, many treatments help ease symptoms and maintain good skin health.


Eczema is a common skin condition that affects many people, and while there is no cure, there are many ways to manage your symptoms and reduce flare-ups. If you face eczema symptoms, consult a doctor and follow a treatment plan to control it.

If you experience the symptoms and believe you may be suffering from atopic dermatitis, get in touch with us. At Agile Urgent Care, you can expect convenient, state-of-the-art, and affordable service for injuries or illnesses that can’t wait for your regular doctor but aren’t serious enough for a costly emergency room visit. We help patients access effective treatments for skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis. At Agile, you’re more than just an insurance ID number. Contact us today and let us know how we can help!

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