3 Resources for People with Atopic Dermatitis

Where to learn more about atopic dermatitis, including treatment and tips on working with your healthcare providers.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common form of eczema—so common that “atopic dermatitis” is often used interchangeably with “eczema.” Sometimes called “the itch that rashes” due to the intense itching it can cause, AD is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that causes a breakdown in the function of the skin barrier.

There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, but there are treatments that can help manage the condition. Treatment may be overseen by a primary care provider, however, some people with AD will need to work with a dermatologist.

Treatment will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of symptoms, how the condition impacts your quality of life (including mental health), and other health conditions you need to manage alongside atopic dermatitis. Every treatment plan will involve skincare and avoiding triggers, and many people with AD are also treated with medications. A treatment plan should also address the mental and emotional burdens of living with a chronic skin condition.

If you are living with atopic dermatitis, the following sources can help you learn more about the condition, your treatment options, and ways you can take an active role in decisions about your health and healthcare.

National Eczema Association
If you’re looking for an answer to a question about atopic dermatitis or information about any aspect of living with AD, the National Eczema Association is a great starting point. The website features pages of information that can be useful to experienced patients as well as people who are newly diagnosed—including information on medications, working with insurance providers, and step-by-step instructions for skincare. Also of interest is the product directory, a searchable database of products that have been granted the National Eczema Seal of Approval.

American Academy of Dermatology
The website of the American Academy of Dermatology is a good starting point if you are seeking information about any condition that affects the skin, hair, or nails. Anyone who is struggling to get AD symptoms under control should check out the page on severe atopic dermatitis. The page is a good starting point for understanding how severe AD differs from milder forms of the condition, the need for personalized treatment, and how existing conditions may interfere with treatment.

This interactive web app is a great place for anyone who wants more personalized or more in-depth patient education on atopic dermatitis. The site has a simple, clean presentation that makes it easy to find answers quickly. One highlight is the section on “How Severe is My Atopic Dermatitis?” which breaks down the multiple considerations that determine severity, including the impact of AD on things like sleep, mental health, and social life. Another highlight is the section on choosing the right treatment, which offers a step-by-step guide to shared decision making with your healthcare providers.

It’s important to remember that atopic dermatitis is a different experience for everyone, and when it comes to learning more about your diagnosis, there’s no better source of information than a healthcare provider who has experience treating AD.

Medically reviewed in May 2021.

UpToDate. "Patient education: Eczema (atopic dermatitis) (Beyond the Basics)."
MedlinePlus. "Atopic dermatitis."
Elsevier Patient Education. "Atopic Dermatitis."
Cleveland Clinic. "Eczema."
National Eczema Foundation. "Patient Fact Sheet."
American Academy of Dermatology Association. "Can Anything Relieve Severe Atopic Dermatitis."

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