Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a relatively common condition. Patients who suffer from atopic dermatitis will experience dry, itchy, inflamed, and irritated skin. Flares may occur at all points in life, but are particularly prominent in infancy. This is a genetic condition that cannot be cured, however, a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Liz Damstetter can help patients find relief. With proper care, eczema symptoms can be reduced so patients can enjoy healthier and smoother skin with excellent control of symptoms like itching or irritation.

What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is also referred to as eczema. This condition causes red, itchy, and inflamed skin. It is most common in infants and children but can occur in patients of any age. Atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition, through most patients will experience periodic flare-ups. Often, atopic dermatitis patients will also suffer from asthma or hay fever.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a genetic condition in which the skin is unable to properly retain moisture. In healthy skin, retaining moisture protects from allergens, irritants, and bacteria. As such, patients with atopic dermatitis are more sensitive to environmental irritants, allergens, and infectious agents in addition to chronic dry skin symptoms.


“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

The most common symptom of atopic dermatitis is dry and itchy skin. Itching can be severe and is often worse at night. Patients may also develop red, brown, or gray patches on the skin. These are most common in areas including the elbows, knees, hands, feet, wrists, ankles, neck, chest, or eyelids. Infants also commonly have atopic dermatitis patches on the face or scalp. The skin can develop small bumps, which may occasionally leak fluid or crust, especially when scratched. Thickened or scaly skin is also common. Finally, patients may experience swelling and tenderness as a result of scratching.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

Atopic Dermatitis Treatment

There is no cure for atopic dermatitis. However, proper care with the help of a dermatologist can help you manage your symptoms. Applying a moisturizer twice daily will help reduce dryness. It can also be helpful to identify any triggers that may cause a flare-up, such as sweat, stress, detergents, soap, dust, or pollen. Food allergies may rarely contribute to atopic dermatitis flares. For some, taking oral allergy medications can help relieve symptoms. Avoid scratching as much as possible; gently press on the skin or cover the area if necessary. Finally, taking shorter baths or showers with warm rather than hot water, using mild and fragrance-free soaps, and gently but thoroughly drying the skin after bathing can help reduce atopic dermatitis symptoms.

As needed, Dr. Damstetter can prescribe various treatments to further prevent or relieve atopic dermatitis symptoms. Medical options include corticosteroid creams, calcineurin inhibitors, and other non-steroidal creams, antibiotics, or other anti-inflammatories. For severe cases of atopic dermatitis, light therapy, wet wraps, and advanced immune-directed therapies such as Dupixent (dupilumab) injections may be prescribed. During your appointment, Dr. Damstetter will evaluate your skin and determine an appropriate treatment option to help you find relief.

Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about atopic dermatitis and your best treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Liz Damstetter. Call Reserve Dermatology in Glenview, IL or contact us online.

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