See a doctor Skip to content

The skin condition can affect any part of your body, although it is more common on the hands (the fingers in particular), wrists, neck, backs of the knees and the insides of the elbow.

It is relatively common on your face and scalp too, especially in children. Babies usually start with the rash on their face, before spreading to other areas.

How much of your skin is affected varies from person to person too. 

Atopic eczema symptoms

When it’s affected by atopic eczema, your skin may be:

  • Itchy - this can sometimes be unbearable, and can stop you sleeping at night
  • Dry
  • Sore
  • Irritated
  • Red
  • Inflamed
  • Cracked
  • Thickened
  • Abnormal in colour

As the condition can cause your skin to be very itchy, you’ll probably want to scratch it, which can disrupt your sleep and even day-to-day activities. You should speak to a GP if it is causing disruption. In the long term, it can cause stress and even lead to depression, so it’s important to seek help.

Scratching can also lead to infection - if the skin is showing signs of an infection, or if you have a fever and feel unwell, see a GP, as you may need antibiotics to treat the infection.

Your symptoms may come and go, with the skin settling down for a period, then flaring up again - how often this happens varies from person to person. How severe these flare ups are will vary from person to person too.

There are known triggers that can cause a flare up, but you can work with your GP to figure out what these are. Read more about causes and triggers of atopic eczema.