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A group of conditions in which the skin becomes inflamed, forms blisters, and becomes crusty, thick, and scaly. Eczema causes burning and itching, and may occur over a long period of time.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Eczema

Skin rash and severe itching are typical symptoms of eczema. This inflammatory skin condition is common in children. It often gets better over time and it may also go away for a while or altogether. The acute symptoms of eczema can really affect your quality of life. Itching in particular might be very unpleasant, affecting your sleep and ability to concentrate. Some people who have eczema feel "uncomfortable in their own skin" and feel embarrassed when they have a rash that others can see. But regular skin care, medication and other steps can relieve the symptoms and keep them from affecting people's daily life too much.


Eczema causes both acute and chronic symptoms. The acute symptoms include red and itchy skin, and sometimes weeping blisters. In the long term it can become dry and cracked, and also thicken... Read more about Eczema

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Probiotics for treating eczema

There is not enough evidence to recommend using probiotics for the treatment of eczema.

Dietary exclusions for improving established atopic eczema in adults and children

Atopic eczema is the most common inflammatory skin disease of childhood in developed countries. The cause of atopic eczema is probably due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Atopic eczema varies in severity, often from one hour to the next and the disease can be associated with complications such as bacterial and viral infections. There is a substantial economic cost not only to the family of the person with atopic eczema but also to health services. Although there is currently no cure for atopic eczema, a wide range of treatments are used to control the symptoms. One such approach is a dietary one, whereby certain foods such as cows' milk are excluded on the basis that they are thought to cause eczema to worsen. The reason for undertaking this review is because the effectiveness of removing various foods from the diet in the short term management of atopic eczema is unclear.

Interventions to reduce Staphylococcus aureus in the management of atopic eczema

Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis or childhood eczema) is a big problem worldwide. The skin of people with atopic eczema often contains high numbers of a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

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Summaries for consumers

Eczema in children: Can prebiotics or probiotics help prevent it?

Probiotic supplements for pregnant women and babies can prevent the development of eczema in some children. Probiotics have been better researched than prebiotics.

Probiotics for treating eczema

There is not enough evidence to recommend using probiotics for the treatment of eczema.

Eczema: Can eliminating particular foods help?

There is no proof that elimination diets can reduce eczema in babies or children who do not have established food allergies. There has been very little research on elimination diets in adults with eczema.

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More about Eczema

Photo of an adult woman

See Also: Atopic Dermatitis

Other terms to know:
Inflammation, Rash, Skin

Related articles:
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