Are eczema and dermatitis the same thing?

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  • “Atopic dermatitis” and “neurodermatitis” are often used interchangeably and generally describe skin conditions that cause dry, red patches on the skin. “Eczema” simply means “rash” in German. Colloquially, it is also called neurodermatitis. 💡
  • “Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin, so it is also a very general term. With the addition of “atopic” we then land in the correct category. 👌
  • There are certain forms of dermatitis that are distinct from atopic eczema, such as contact dermatitis (reaction to something coming into contact with the skin) and seborrheic dermatitis (usually affects the oily parts of the body, i.e., face, scalp, upper part of the chest, and back). ℹ️
  • There are other common conditions such as asthma, hay fever, food allergies, or dry eyes that often coexist with atopic eczema. They are referred to as “comorbidities.” 🔗
    If diseases are added in the course of time or if there is a floor change (e.g., hay fever turns into asthma), one speaks of an atopic march. 👣

Recommended actions

✅ It is important to make the right diagnosis to find the fastest way to happy skin. This can sometimes be tricky, as there are many skin conditions that are very similar to atopic dermatitis. If you’re unsure, get a second expert opinion.
✅ Do you suffer from breathing problems, allergic reactions (like a runny nose or itchy eyes), or dry/itchy eyes? Ask a doctor if this could be a comorbidity such as asthma, allergies, hay fever or dry eyes.



🌐More about our expert in this video can be found here (Julia Born, MD).
🌐More about the “atopic march” can be found here and here.


Today I want to help you find your way through the jungle of definitions and terms that fall in the context of atopic dermatitis and eczema. For example, eczema and atopic dermatitis are used to describe the same disease. Colloquially, we call it something else – namely neurodermatitis. “Eczema” in German first of all just means “rash”. This can also be other rashes that have nothing to do with neurodermatitis. “Dermatitis” means “inflammation of the skin”, so it is also very general at first. The addition of “atopic” then puts it in the right category. “Atopy” also includes other diseases besides atopic dermatitis, which one can have either alone or in combination with atopic dermatitis. Then we call them “comorbidities.” These include, for example, hay fever, asthma, food allergies or xerophthalmia, i.e. “dry eye”. If, in the course of time, diseases are added or there is a “floor change”, which means that, for example, hay fever becomes asthma, we call this an “atopic march”. So, now hopefully a little light comes into the thicket of terminology!

Medical disclaimer

The contents of this app / pages do not represent medical recommendations. It is general information or the representation of your own tracking data. Before you change anything in your therapy plan, please always talk to your doctor first.

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