Atopic dermatitis is a skin disorder involving hypersensitivity (allergy-related) reaction within the skin characterized by inflammation, itching and scaling. Atopic dermatitis can occur in an infantile (children) or adult form. It is most common in infants, and at least half of those cases clear up by age of 18 months. There is often an associated history of asthma, hay fever, eczema, psoriasis, or other allergy-related disorders. In adults, it is generally a chronic or recurring condition.
Neurodermatitis is a form of atopic dermatitis characterized by a self perpetuating scratching-itch cycle. Although symptoms increase in times of stress, physiological changes in the nerve fibers are also present.
Exposure to environmental irritants can worsen symptoms, as can dryness of the skin, exposure to water, temperature changes and stress.