What is eczema?

Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a common and complex, non-contagious, chronic disease, caused by inflammation of the skin.1,2 It can appear anywhere on the body and affects people of all ages, but not all types of eczema look the same.3

Image source: Dermnet NZ

This resource provides information about the most common types of eczema, its likely causes, who gets it, and what you can expect during diagnosis and treatment. Links to other useful resources are provided throughout.


  1. Cork MJ, Danby SG, Vasilopoulos Y et al. Epidermal barrier dysfunction in atopic dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol 2009;129:1892--908.
  2. Schofield JK, Fleming D, Grindlay D, Williams H. Skin conditions are the commonest new reason people present to general practitioners in England and Wales. Br J Dermatol 2011;165:1044--50.
  3. Weidinger S, Novak N. Atopic dermatitis. Lancet 2016;387:1109--22.

UK/GEN/16/0051 Date of preparation: October 2016