Atopic dermatitis is a sensitivity disease of the skin, similar to asthma in the lungs, hay fever in the sinuses and food allergies in the gut. It’s a chronic condition and tends to flare periodically. The symptoms vary. Adult eczema often occurs in patches on areas of the body prone to friction or sweat. If those self-care steps don’t help, your dermatologist may prescribe topical or oral medications, or other therapies.