Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition that almost always starts during childhood. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that as many as one in five children have the condition before the age of five. Most children outgrow the condition by the time they are adults. In some cases, eczema may persist into adulthood, and in even rarer cases, instances of adult-onset eczema have been reported.
Usually, eczema first appears similar to a dry, reddened and scaly rash. It usually affects areas of the skin that are prone to dryness, such as the face, scalp, ankles and wrists. Because the condition can be especially itchy and uncomfortable for small children, it is important to visit a dermatologist for treatment as soon as possible. Failing to seek treatment could result in a skin infection or permanent scarring of the skin due to persistent scratching.