Around 10% of the global population (between 10-20% of children and 2-5% of adults are affected) and cases are on the increase. In fact, over the past 30 years patient numbers have grown by 200-300%.
Atopic Dermatitis is most common in babies and children. 90% of patients experienced symptoms before they were five and 80% by the time they were two. Evidence suggests that there are slightly more female than male sufferers and it is predominantly a disease of the Western world.
Atopic skin goes through two phases: non-active (or “normal”) and active (or “flare-up”).
During a non-active phase facial skin may be dry to very dry, slightly flaky, pink to red and affected areas – most commonly the cheeks, scalp, forehead, round the eyes and behind the ears - may have small healed cracks.
The more distressing phase, both physically and psychologically, is the flare-up phase when sufferers experience light to intense itching and facial skin that is red to deep red, uneven to swollen, sore, flaky and even mildly bleeding.
Dryness, itchiness and inflammation are also symptoms of hypersensitive skin. With hypersensitive skin the dryness is accompanied by non-visible but unpleasant skin sensations. Read more about hypersensitive skin.