Symptoms of Atopic dermatitis

There are Acute and Chronic stages of Dermatitis/Eczema:

Acute Dermatitis/Eczema

Skin lesions present as:
Erythema: redness of the skin. Present at the initial stage with lesions which have ill-defined borders determined by local swelling.
Papules: raised red spots. Clusters of raised red spots a few millimetres in diameter, these may be mixed with tiny vesicles, on a red background. Bloody crusts form after scratching.
Papillovesicles: raised red spots/blisters filled with a clear fluid (serum). Clusters of raised small “pointed” or “domed” blisters that are fluid filled on a red background. “Pinpoint” erosion occurs after eruption of the blisters. (Vesicles – blisters filled with a clear fluid)
Pustular: after a secondary infection i.e. staphycoccous (bacteria present on the skin) or staphylococcal (bacteria present in mucus membrane). The clear fluid present in the blisters turns putrid purulent. After rupturing, the weeping forms thick greenish/yellow “pus” crusts. Other symptoms include painful and swollen lymph nodes.
Erosive: Constant scratching of the vesicles or pustules results in severe and bloody weeping. Excoriations (“hole”) formations occur over the scratched area. The greater the scratching, the more severe is the erosion.
Desquamative: fine scaling may occur after the lesions have healed.

All of these can present at any given time but usually one is predominant.

Chronic Dermatitis/Eczema

Often evolving from either Acute or Subacute Dermatitis/Eczema

Lesions present as very dry, rough thickened skin. Often flaking with deep and widening crease lines in the skin. The skin will also either be lacking pigmentation (hypopigmentation) or show excessive pigmentation (hyperpigmentation) of the skin.

The constant scratching and rubbing are done subconsciously leading to thickened skin which itches even more. Easily accessible sites or creased areas are mainly involved.