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Eczema Facts

Eczema is an umbrella term used to describe a group of medical conditions that cause red, inflamed and itchy skin.

There are eight types of eczema

Atopic dermatitis – caused by a malfunction in the immune system and problems with the skin barrier.

Contact dermatitis – a result of skin touching a known irritant and/or allergen.

Dyshidrotic eczema – occurs on the feet and hands as itchy blisters, usually caused by exposure to allergens.

Hand eczema – caused by a combination of genes, irritants and/or allergens.

Lichen simplex chronicus – results in thick, scaly patches on the skin, often caused by too much scratching and rubbing.

Nummular eczema/discoid eczema/nummular dermatitis – usually caused by allergens or very dry skin and appears as round lesions that can weep fluid, especially in older populations.

Seborrheic dermatitis – white or yellow flaky, greasy patches in places with more oil-producing glands, caused by a combination of genetics, hormones and microorganisms on the skin.

Stasis dermatitis – happens when poor circulation to the legs causes the veins to swell and leak fluid, causing swelling and skin redness and itch, mostly in older populations.

People with one type of eczema may also go on to develop other types depending on genetics and exposure to environmental triggers.

Eczema Prevalence in the United States

Overall Eczema Prevalence in the U.S.

31.6 million people (10.1%) in the U.S. have some form of eczema.[1]

Atopic Dermatitis Prevalence in the U.S.

4.1 million adults (6%) have atopic dermatitis.[2]

9.6 million (13%) children under the age of 18 have atopic dermatitis[3]

Of this total, 3.2 million children (33%) have moderate to severe atopic dermatitis[4],[5]

Childhood Eczema Prevalence By Race in the U.S.

  • African American: 20.2%[6]
  • Asian or Pacific Islander: 13%[7]
  • White: 12.1%[8]
  • Hispanic: 10.7%[9]
  • Native American: 13%[10]

Adult Eczema Prevalence by Race in the U.S.[11]

  • Multiracial/other: 14.6%
  • Hispanic: 10.8%
  • White: 10.5%
  • Asian: 9.1%
  • Native American: 7.8%
  • African American: 7.7%

Eczema and Gender

Eczema is more common in females than males.[12],[13],[14],[15],[16]

Eczema Mortality

Hospitalization due to AD flares and associated infections and/or viruses is associated with an 8-year reduction in lifespan.[17]

Eczema Impact on Quality of Life

Impact on Adults

Nearly half of people with atopic dermatitis report they are “often” or “always” frustrated by their disease.[18]

More than one-third of people with AD say they “often” or “always” feel angry or embarrassed by their appearance due to the condition.[19]

Two-thirds of people with eczema say that their disease interferes with their job and household chores.[20]

Sixty-six percent of adults say AD restricts what they can eat and drink.[21]

One-third report that they spend one to three hours per day treating their disease.[22]

Nearly 40% of patients with eczema reported that they turned down a job or an educational opportunity due to their disease.[23]

Impact on children and adolescents

Children with eczema often feel isolated from their peers due to disease-related lifestyle restrictions.[24]

One in five children with AD face bullying because of their disease.[25]

Nearly 30% of children experience disrupted sleep five or more nights week due to symptoms of eczema, which affects mood and well-being.[26]

Impact on families

Parents and caregivers of children with AD also experience disrupted sleep, leading to exhaustion, daytime sleepiness and affected performance at work.[27]

Parents and caregivers also report feeling embarrassed about their child’s appearance as well as frustration, helplessness, sadness and guilt due to their child’s condition.[28]

Childhood AD has a significant impact on the mental health of parents and caregivers.[29]

Nearly a third of spouses and partners of adults with AD, said that disease interfered with their sex life.[30]

Economic Impact of Eczema in the U.S.

The annual economic burden of eczema is conservatively estimated at $5.3 billion; this figure includes direct costs such as medical visits and medications, and indirect costs including lost productivity of patients and caregivers and impacts on QoL.[31]

Eczema has the highest effect on disability-associated life years for patients with skin diseases worldwide.[32]

In 2016, the cost to the health system to treat atopic dermatitis patients was $314 million.[33]

Lowered QoL for patients with eczema is connected to decreased productivity.[34]

Patients and caregivers seeking treatment for their disease lost $128 million in wages in 2016.[35]

Eczema Comorbidities

In the U.S., 50% of children with severe AD develop asthma and 75% develop allergic rhinitis.[36]

Children and adolescents with eczema have higher rates of depression, anxiety and conduct disorder.[37],[38]

More than 20% of adults with atopic dermatitis also have asthma.[39]

People with atopic dermatitis are at increased risk of developing serious bacterial, viral and fungal skin infections.[40]

Children with atopic dermatitis are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.[41]

Adults with AD experience higher rates of depression and anxiety.[42],[43]

Children with AD have an increased risk of presenting with Autism Spectrum Disorder.[44]


[1] Hanifin J, Reed M. A Population-Based Survey of Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Dermatitis. 2007;18(2):82-91. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06034.

[2] Ibid.

[3] 1. Silverberg J, Simpson E. Associations of Childhood Eczema Severity. Dermatitis. 2014;25(3):107-114. doi:10.1097/der.0000000000000034.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ballardini N, Kull I, Soderhall C, Lilja G, Wickman M, Wahlgren CF. Eczema severity in preadolescent children and its relation to sex, filaggrin mutations, asthma, rhinitis, aggravating factors and topical treatment: a report from the BAMSE birth cohort. The British journal of dermatology. 2013;168(3):588-594.

[6] Silverberg JI, Simpson EL, Durkin HG, Joks R. Prevalence of allergic disease in foreign-born American children. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(6):554–60.

[7] Hanifin J, Reed M. A Population-Based Survey of Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Dermatitis. 2007;18(2):82-91. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06034.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Hanifin J, Reed M. A Population-Based Survey of Eczema Prevalence in the United States. Dermatitis. 2007;18(2):82-91. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06034.

[11] J, Hanifin J. Adult eczema prevalence and associations with asthma and other health and demographic factors: A US population–based study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;132(5):1132-1138. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.031.

[12] Atopic Dermatitis in Emergency Medicine: Background, Pathophysiology, Epidemiology. Emedicinemedscape.com. 2017. Available at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/762045-overview#a6. Accessed May 23, 2017.

[13] Simpson CR, Newton J, Hippisley-Cox J, Sheikh A. Trends in the epidemiology and prescribing of medication for eczema in England. J R Soc Med 2009;102:108–17. 10.1258/jrsm.2009.080211.

[14] Butland BK, Strachan DP, Lewis S, et al. (1997) Investigation into the increase in hayfever and eczema at age 16 observed between the 1958 and 1970 British birth cohorts. BMJ 315:717–721.

[15] Silverberg J, Hanifin J. Adult eczema prevalence and associations with asthma and other health and demographic factors: A US population–based study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;132(5):1132-1138. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.031.

[16] Silverberg J, Paller A. Association Between Eczema and Stature in 9 US Population-Based Studies. JAMA Dermatology. 2015;151(4):401. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3432.

[17] Egeberg A, Skov L, Andersen Y et al. Ten-year mortality is increased after hospitalization for atopic dermatitis compared with the general population, but reduced compared with psoriasis. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2017;76(1):98-105. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2016.06.021.

[18] Anderson RT, Rajagopalan R. Effects of allergic dermatosis on health-related quality of life. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 2001;1:309–315.

[19] Ibid.

[20] In Your Words | National Eczema Association. (2017). National Eczema Association. Retrieved 23 May 2017, from https://nationaleczema.org/in-your-words-survey-series/#Caregiver.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Holm E, Esmann S, Jemec G. The handicap caused by atopic dermatitis – sick leave and job avoidance. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2006;20(3):255-259. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01416.x.

[24] Chamlin SL, Frieden IJ, Williams ML, et al. Effects of atopic dermatitis on young American children and their families. Pediatrics. 2004;114:607–11. doi:10.1542/peds.2004-0374.

[25] In Your Words | National Eczema Association. (2017). National Eczema Association. Retrieved 23 May 2017, from https://nationaleczema.org/in-your-words-survey-series/#Caregiver

[26] Ibid.

[27] Chamlin SL, Frieden IJ, Williams ML, Chren MM. Effects of atopic dermatitis on young American children and their families. Pediatrics. Sep 2004;114(3):607-611.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Warschburger P, Buchholz HT, Petermann F. Psychological adjustment in parents of young children with atopic dermatitis: which factors predict parental quality of life? The British journal of dermatology. Feb 2004;150(2):304-311.

[30] Misery L, Finlay AY, Martin N, et al. Atopic dermatitis: impact on the quality of life of patients and their partners. Dermatology. 2007;215(2):123-129.

[31] Atopic Dermatitis: Burden Of Disease Audit. San Rafael: National Eczema Association; :1-67. Available at: http://www.nationaleczema.org. Accessed May 24, 2017.

[32] Hay RJ, Johns NE, Williams HC, et al. The global burden of skin disease in 2010: an analysis of the prevalence and impact of skin conditions. The Journal of investigative dermatology. Jun 2014;134(6):1527-1534.

[33] Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema By The Numbers. 1st ed. Schaumburg: American Academy of Dermatology; 2016:1-5. Available at: https://www.aad.org/about/burden-of-skin-disease/burden-of-skin-disease-briefs. Accessed May 24, 2017.

[34] Yano C, Saeki H, Ishiji T, et al. Impact of disease severity on work productivity and activity impairment in Japanese patients with atopic dermatitis. The Journal of dermatology. Sep 2013;40(9):736-739.

[35] Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema By The Numbers. 1st ed. Schaumburg: American Academy of Dermatology; 2016:1-5. Available at: https://www.aad.org/about/burden-of-skin-disease/burden-of-skin-disease-briefs. Accessed May 24, 2017.

[36] Gustafsson D, Sjöberg O, Foucard T. Development of allergies and asthma in infants and young children with atopic dermatitis – a prospective follow-up to 7 years of age. Allergy. 2000;55:240–245.

[37] Yaghmaie P, Koudelka CW, Simpson EL. Mental health comorbidity in patients with atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013;131:428–33. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2012.10.041.

[38] Slattery MJ, Essex MJ, Paletz EM, et al. Depression, anxiety, and dermatologic quality of life in adolescents with atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;128:668–71. doi:10.1016/j.jaci. 2011.05.003.

[39] Silverberg J, Hanifin J. Adult eczema prevalence and associations with asthma and other health and demographic factors: A US population–based study. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;132(5):1132-1138. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.08.031.

[40] Simpson E. Comorbidity in Atopic Dermatitis. Current Dermatology Reports. 2012;1(1):29-38. doi:10.1007/s13671-011-0003-5.

[41]  Schmitt J, Romanos M, Schmitt NM, et al. Atopic eczema and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a population-based sample of children and adolescents. JAMA. 2009 Feb;301(7):724–726.

[42] Yang YW, Tseng KC, Chen YH, et al. Associations among eczema, asthma, serum immunoglobulin E and depression in adults: a population-based study. Allergy. 2010 Jun;65(6):801–802.

[43] Yaghmaie P, Koudelka CW, Simpson EL. Psychiatric comorbidity in pediatric eczema. J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Apr;131(Supplement 1):S41.

[44] Billeci L, Tonacci A, Tartarisco G, Ruta L, Pioggia G, Gangemi S. Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2015;16(5):371-388. doi:10.1007/s40257-015-0145-5.