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From the Community: Eczema Across the Ages

We asked and you answered. While atopic dermatitis is typically diagnosed in infants and children, some may not get a diagnosis until later in life. A look at what age our community members were first diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema).

Getting diagnosed in infancy


The onset of AD is most common in infants, typically occurring between 3 and 6 months of age. Approximately 60% of cases of AD develop in the first year of life. In infants, AD may appear as a rash on the scalp, face, or arms and legs.

In our Atopic Dermatitis In America survey, we asked participants “At approximately what age were you diagnosed with atopic dermatitis by a healthcare professional?” 14% of respondents to the survey were diagnosed before the age of 1. In addition, we asked at what age did you first experience atopic dermatitis-related symptoms, or symptoms that you later identified as being related to atopic dermatitis? 22% of patients started experiencing atopic dermatitis related symptoms also before the age of 1.

Community members shared the various ages they were diagnosed. Over 50% had been diagnosed either as an infant or in childhood. A look at some of the responses from our atopic dermatitis community regarding age of diagnosis.

  • “A few weeks after birth.”
  • “A few weeks after birth. I’m 73 now.”
  • “My daughter 6 months old she is now 15 and it’s worse”
  • “I’ve had it since I was an infant. My Mom and Aunt have it. We’re also Celiac and I have gluten and fragrance allergy as well.”
  • “My daughter was at 2 years old she is now 23.”
  • “My son was diagnosed at 6 months”
  • “I am 56, I started at 6, had it all my life.”

Getting diagnosed in adulthood


Many of the people who have atopic dermatitis as a child experience remission of the condition by adulthood, however approximately 10-30% continue to have relapses of AD in adulthood. There are also a smaller number of people who did not experience atopic dermatitis as a child, but do experience it as an adult. This accounts for about 5% of all cases of AD. The atopic dermatitis rash appears scalier in adults than in younger patients.

From 18 years old to 44 to 68 there are varying ages that community members have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. A look at some of the responses from our atopic dermatitis community regarding being diagnosed as an adult.

  • “I started getting mild eczema in my 30s but I wasn’t really diagnosed until this year at age 55.”
  • “For years as a child and young adult I always thought I had lice or poison oak, etc I went to a dermatologist at 18 and found out what it was.”
  • “Diagnosed at age 35. I have it on my face, behind my ears and now on my neck and shoulders. I usually end up seeing the derm every year.”