Eczema is a skin condition that can cause symptoms such as dryness, itching, and discolored rashes.

Your doctor may classify eczema into three stages: acute, subacute, and chronic. Eczema doesn’t always pass through every stage. It may potentially begin at any stage and develop into another. You might also have multiple patches of eczema in different stages on your body at the same time.

Eczema sometimes causes changes in skin pigmentation that may last for several months or longer, even after other symptoms have resolved. Patches of your skin may become darker or lighter in color.

In some cases, eczema may become infected. It’s important to contact your doctor right away if you notice signs or symptoms of an infection.

Let your doctor know if you develop new or worse skin symptoms. Other conditions may cause similar symptoms as eczema. Your doctor will examine your skin and may order tests to learn whether eczema or another condition is causing your symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend changes to your skin care routine, medication, or other treatments to manage eczema or potential complications of the condition.

Click through the progression guide below to learn how eczema may change over time.