What is neurodermatitis and who is affected?

Neurodermatitis, also medically known as atopic eczema, atopic dermatitis or endogenous eczema, is one of the most common chronic skin diseases. Several million people are affected by it in Germany, in particular children (about 20%).

In most cases, neurodermatitis develops in the first year of life. Cradle cap may be a first sign of the condition. In many children, the neurodermatitis regresses over the first three years of life.

Characteristics of neurodermatitis: how the condition manifests, which parts of the skin are affected and the severity can vary. The disease alternates between acute and clear phases. Many other interacting factors determine the course of this chronic skin disease with genetic predisposition also playing a role.

Problems can increase during the colder months when rooms are heated with dry air. Your mental state can also have an effect on atopic eczema. For example, stress can trigger an attack of neurodermatitis or shorten the clear phase.

Symptoms of neurodermatitis

The leading symptoms of neurodermatitis are itching (pruritus), dry skin and episodic inflammation with the development of eczema. The body parts typically affected by eczema are the joints, neck, wrists and hands.

The distressing itchiness can irritate those affected throughout the whole day. The itch may even become worse in the evening or at night. This disturbs sleep and the body cannot recover properly, which then often leads to difficulties concentrating during the day.

In addition to treating the acute inflammation, the first task is to interrupt the itch-scratch cycle. It is therefore particularly important to care regularly for the skin even in the more or less clear phases, as neurodermatitic skin remains sensitive to irritation. Our Guide to Neurodermatitis can help you more with this.