What is atopic dermatitis in infants and children?

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic disorder that appears from the first few months of life. Symptoms start to appear in infants between the age of four months and one year; or in older children between the ages of six and eight. It affects two to three children in ten, and occurs more frequently in those with a family history of allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema or rhinoconjunctivitis.

What are the causes of atopic dermatitis in infants and children?

The primary cause of atopic dermatitis in infants and children is genetics, with the skin condition often passed from parent to child.

What does atopic dermatitis on infants and children look like?

Skin lesions may be exudating (moist), eczematous (red) or xerotic (dry), and can appear simultaneously, or independently from each other in different stages.

The most affected areas of the body are:

  • Neck folds
  • Elbow folds
  • Folds of the knee

The main symptom of atopic dermatitis is intense, persistent itching. This is true whether lesions are present on the skin or not, and the constant need to scratch can lead to bacterial infection.

How to treat atopic dermatitis in infants and children

Infants and children with any stage of atopic dermatitis must use specific products to soothe the condition.


Traditional body washes are to be avoided, and so too, is water which is a key aggravator of the condition. To cleanse the skin, it is important to use dry washes with potassium permanganate.

As far as skin care is concerned, we recommend specific treatments depending on the stage in progress of the dermatitis, so we suggest:

Apply Lenitive Cream in the evening. Thanks to zinc oxide and magnesium silicate, Soothing Cream is antipruritic and astringent, which dries out excess moisture.

Apply Dermictiol Cream in the evening and massage well. Dermictiol Cream contains ichthyol sulfonate, an anti-inflammatory and antipruritic agent of mineral origin.

Massage PEG Balm into the affected areas until absorbed. Apply every morning and evening. PEG Balm absorbs moisture and encourages healing through skin peeling (desquamation).

Apply Extreme Emollient Ointment in the evening and massage well until absorbed.

Once the dermatitis has healed and there are no residual symptoms of redness, itching or dryness, use Eudermic Washing Base for cleansing the face and body. Eudermic Washing Base is a quick-rinsing, non-foaming cleanser that is ideally suited for infants and children with atopic dermatitis. For hair washing, use Dermictiol Shampoo.

Common questions on atopic dermatitis in infants and children

Should the skin be moisturized?
No. While we may think that dry skin in infants and children will improve with the use of moisturizers, the opposite is true, as applying moisturizer or emollient creams draws water to the skin and increases irritation.
Similarly, wetting the skin also increases dryness and itching, because water dissolves and eliminates the natural moisturizers present on the skin. Furthermore, moisture created through washing can cause the overdevelopment of skin bacteria in skin folds, causing inflammation.

Can infants and children with atopic dermatitis be exposed to the sun?
The sun’s rays – not UV lamps – can significantly reduce all forms of atopic dermatitis. Moderate, safe sun exposure with the use of appropriate sunscreen is recommended for those with atopic dermatitis. However, the sun’s rays will not benefit individuals with atopic dermatitis who are being treated, or have recently been treated, with cortisone or immunosuppressants.

Further insights