Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a chronic inflammation of the outer layers of the skin. It is often referred to as the itch that rashes. The exact cause of this disease is unknown but factors that may contribute to atopic dermatitis include, genetics, environmental influences and allergies. Atopic dermatitis is thought to affect nearly 20% of children but adults can develop it as well and at any time well after childhood. The condition is characterized by dry, itchy skin with scaly patches that may or may not include raised bumps, leathery skin, and oozing or cracking skin. Because atopic dermatitis tends to be a chronic condition it is important to know how to employ proper skin care that will work to prevent atopic dermatitis flares and control the symptoms of the disease. There are numerous prescription and over-the-counter treatments available and it is important to find one that works for you and is appropriate for you. An individualized plan that treats your skin and situation will be developed with your dermatologist. In addition, MDA is also home to the integrative eczema center where we specialize in natural treatment approaches to atopic dermatitis.