What is AD?

Atopic Dermatitis (also known as ‘atopic eczema’) is a chronic and inflammatory genetic skin condition which can be made worse through environmental factors, such as detergents and allergies.

Atopic dermatitis can affect any part of the body, however it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face. It usually affects 5–15 per cent of school children and 2–10 per cent of adults, with over half of these cases improving as adulthood approaches.2 However, it can be a lifelong condition where symptoms are endured over time4. Furthermore, AD continues to impact significantly on a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing3 into and throughout adulthood as well as have a substantial economic burden.  

What is the impact of AD?

A study with over 2000 patients has shown moderate to severe patients can experience nine ‘flare ups’ per annum4. Chronic itching can have a huge impact on patient quality of life. This can mean lack of sleep, and time off work or school, with effects on self-confidence, mood and relationships4. If AD is properly managed, the disease symptoms can be kept under control and patients are able to lead normal lives5.

Physical burden

AD is characterised by the presence of dry, red, itchy and inflamed skin which can become scaly or bleed. It normally presents on the face and flexural areas of the arms and legs5

Atopic Dermatitis in the elbows LEO Pharma Atopic Dermatitis of the eye area LEO Pharma

Source: Derm Net NZ

Atopic Dermatitis behind the knees LEO Pharma

Source: Dr George Moncrieff

Atopic Dermatitis on the chest LEO Pharma Atopic Dermatitis on the face LEO Pharma

Source: Dr George Moncrieff


Emotional burden

AD can severely impact patients’ lives by affecting psychological wellbeing and social functioning restricting quality of sleep, everyday activity and requiring time off work4,5. Furthermore, AD greatly affects the quality of life of afflicted children and their families.



1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/  

2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/symptoms/ 

3. Emerson RM, et al. Br J Dermatol 1998; 139:73–76

4. Zuberbier T, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 118:226–232.

5. Lifschitz C. Ann Nutr Metab 2015; 66: 34-40


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