Atopic Dermatitis: Related or Similar Conditions

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Atopic Dermatitis: Related or Similar Conditions

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A number of skin conditions are associated with atopic dermatitis or have symptoms similar to atopic dermatitis.

Conditions with similar symptoms include:

  • Psoriasis, which causes raised red or white patches topped with silvery, scaling skin.
  • Scabies, which is caused by tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin.
  • A rash caused by contact with an allergen (contact dermatitis, such as poison ivy).
  • Blisters or sores on the skin caused by a bacterial infection (impetigo).
  • Fungal infections, such as ringworm.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis, a common skin disorder. In this condition a red, scaly, itchy rash occurs, most commonly on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, skin behind the ears, and middle of the chest.

Conditions associated with atopic dermatitis include:

  • Dry skin (xerosis). Most people with atopic dermatitis have dry skin. Dry skin is sensitive, easily irritated, and itchy. Scratching the dry skin often starts the development of atopic dermatitis.
  • Ichthyosis vulgaris, an inherited skin condition. Dry, rectangular scales develop on the skin.
  • Keratosis pilaris, an inherited skin condition. Rough bumps appear on the skin, mainly on the back and outer sides of the upper arms, although they may also appear on the thighs and buttocks.
  • Hyperlinear palmar creases, which are many and exaggerated skin creases (lines) in the palms of the hand.
  • Pityriasis alba, which are slightly scaly, round or oval, slightly pink patches on the skin. The patches are more apparent in summer, especially in darker-skinned children, because the patches don't tan as well as the surrounding skin.
  • Atopic pleat, which is an extra line on the lower eyelid. This may be a distinguishing feature of atopic dermatitis or caused by rubbing the eye.
  • Asthma and hay fever. Some people with atopic dermatitis have asthma or hay fever.

Related Information


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Revised June 18, 2010

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