Is Eczema an Autoimmune Disease?

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The line between autoimmune diseases and allergies is sometimes hard to decipher. This is particularly true of conditions such as eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.

A woman with eczema.
A woman with eczema. (Image: -aniaostudio-/iStock/Getty Images)

Eczema

Eczema is a condition that causes an overstimulation of the immune system near the upper layers of the skin. This can result in dry, itchy, red and scaly skin on the arms, cheeks, back, hands and other parts of the body.

Eczema causes itchy skin.
Eczema causes itchy skin. (Image: Heike Kampe/iStock/Getty Images)

Autoimmune Disease

When an autoimmune disease strikes, the body's tissues are attacked by the immune system that is supposed to be protecting them.

An eczema skin rash.
An eczema skin rash. (Image: olavs/iStock/Getty Images)

Allergic Disease

An allergic disease is a condition in which things that shouldn't trigger the body's immune system do, such as pollen, mold, dust and certain foods.

Pollen allergies are common.
Pollen allergies are common. (Image: Alexandru Razvan Cofaru/iStock/Getty Images)

Long-Term

Eczema is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure, though treatments do exist to combat its symptoms.

There are treatments for eczema.
There are treatments for eczema. (Image: Jovanmandic/iStock/Getty Images)

Classification

Eczema is classified as an allergic condition. However, in a broader scope, all allergic conditions could be considered autoimmune diseases because of the effect they have on the immune system.

The line between allergies and auto immune diseases is hard to draw.
The line between allergies and auto immune diseases is hard to draw. (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

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