Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to become itchy, reddened, dry and cracked.
Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema, and mainly affects children. The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it often occurs in people who are prone to allergies ('atopic' means sensitivity to allergens).
About eight in 10 atopic eczema cases occur before a child reaches five years of age. Many children develop it before their first birthday.
As atopic eczema can't be cured, treatments aim to control the symptoms.
Eczema also needs to be managed by dealing with the things that make it worse.
Identifying and staying away from the things that trigger your, or your child's, eczema are an essential part of your overall treatment plan.
If your, or your child's, eczema is triggered by certain foods you should ask your GP for advice on how to deal with this. Keeping a diary to record anything that triggers eczema can help you to discover a pattern. Excluding foods may not have any effect and can lead to a deficiency of essential nutrients, calcium or protein. It should only be considered for children under the supervision of a GP or dietitian.
With good management and appropriate treatment, most people are able to control their atopic eczema.