Atopic dermatitis

Last reviewed: 6 Sep 2022
Last updated: 08 Feb 2022



History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • pruritus
  • xerosis (dry skin)
  • sites of skin involvement
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • erythema
  • scaling
  • vesicles
  • papules
  • keratosis pilaris
  • excoriations
  • lichenification
  • hypopigmentation
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • filaggrin gene mutation
  • age <5 years
  • family history of atopic dermatitis
  • allergic rhinitis
  • asthma
  • active and passive exposure to smoke
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • clinical diagnosis
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • IgE levels
  • skin-prick testing
  • patch testing
  • skin biopsy
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm


acute flare


chronic or relapsing disease (nonrefractory)

refractory chronic or relapsing disease



Adelaide A. Hebert, MD

Professor & Director of Pediatric Dermatology

Clinical Specialist

Department of Dermatology and Pediatrics

University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston




AAH serves on the board of the International Hyperhidrosis Society and the American Academy of Dermatology; consults for Pfizer, Galderma, LaRoche Posay, Arcutis, Incyte, Vyne, Varrica, Beiersdorf, Aslan, and Ortho Dermatologics; has undertaken or is undertaking contractual research for Pfizer, Galderma, Ortho Dermatologics, Aslan, Leo, Mayne, Arcutis, Incyte, Verrica, Novan, Brickell, and Almirall; is on the data safety monitoring boards for GSK, Regeneron, and Sanofi; and is on the speakers' bureaux for Pfizer, Almirall, and Galderma.

Eugenio G. Galindo, MD

Dermatology Clinical Research Fellow

UTHealth McGovern Medical School




EGG declares that he has no competing interests.


Dr Adelaide A. Hebert and Dr Eugenio G. Galindo would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Quoc-Bao D. Nguyen, Dr Mary D. DarConte, Dr Christina M. Gelbard, and Dr Daniel A. Grabella, previous contributors to this topic. QNN, MDD, CMG, and DAG declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Amor Khachemoune, MD

Assistant Professor

New York University School of Medicine



AK declares that he has no competing interests.

John English, MBBS, FRCP

Consultant Dermatologist

Department of Dermatology

Queen's Medical Centre

Nottingham University Hospitals




JE declares that he has no competing interests.

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