Eczema Symptoms

Most eczema symptoms appear after exposure to a trigger or flare-up. These flare-ups look like patches of inflamed skin found in common areas , ranging from mild to severe.

Eczema is a term used to describe a group of skin conditions. The clinical manifestations of most forms of eczema are quite similar.

Having reoccurring eczema can affect other areas such as our self-image, concentration and participation with others in the community.

Types of Eczema

  • Atopic dermatitis – This is the most common form of eczema, which affects both males and females, and often occurs in childhood.
  • Contact dermatitis – This form of eczema can be either allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis, depending on the cause. Reactions occur to substances that result in skin rashes.
  • Infantile seborrheic eczema – This affects babies under the age of 12 months, and the cause is unknown. This type of eczema is often referred to as cradle cap.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – This form of eczema affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years. It appears on the scalp, face, ears, and chest.
  • Varicose eczema – This type of eczema affects the lower legs and occurs in middle aged persons or older people. It is associated with poor circulation.
  • Discoid eczema – With this skin condition, the skin develops a few coin-shaped rash areas, usually on the trunk or lower legs.

Common Signs and Eczema Symptoms

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Blisters with oozing or crusting
  • Red patches on the skin that bleed
  • Scaling and thick skin
  • Dry, leathery skin that is darker or lighter than normal skin tone
  • Paleness around the mouth
  • Increased number of palmar skin creases
  • Extra fold of skin beneath the lower eyelid (called Morgan’s line)

Common Skin Regions affected by Eczema

  • Behind the knees
  • The front aspect of elbows
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Chest
  • Hands
  • Feet

The Eczema Itch

The main characteristic of eczema is the itch, which can be unbearable at times. Itching causes loss of sleep, loss of concentration, increased stress, and depression. The doctor may inquire about itching, the duration of the itching, how long it lasts, and when it first occurred.

Questions from the Doctor

Questions your doctor may ask regarding your eczema symptoms include:

  • What do the symptoms look like?
  • When did the symptoms appear?
  • What may have triggered the symptoms?
  • Where on the body is the rash?
  • Is there a history of eczema in your family?
  • Do you have asthma or hay fever?

Risk Factors

The doctor will also likely inquire about your risk factors for eczema. Risk factors increase the likelihood of experiencing this skin condition. These include:

  • Age – Children under five years of age are more likely to be diagnosed with eczema.
  • Environment – People who live in urban areas or places of low humidity have more eczema.
  • Family history – If parents have eczema, the child is more likely to develop the condition.
    Medical conditions – Eczema often occurs along with hay fever and asthma.
  • Triggers – Exposure to certain triggers can cause eczema flareups. These include skin infection, soaps and detergents, animal dander, pollen, dust mites, rough clothing, overheating, and cold exposure.

Similar Words used to describe Eczema Symptoms

Many words are used to describe eczema symptoms, which can cause confusion.
To help you understand the terminology, read over this list of common interchangeable words.

  • Inflamed / redness
  • Sore / painful
  • Cracked / split
  • Oozing / seeping
  • Pustules / blisters

When to See a Doctor

If you suspect that you or your child has eczema, consider seeing a doctor for accurate diagnosis. Early diagnosis and effective treatment will help keep eczema from getting worse. The more severe this skin condition becomes, the more difficult it is to treat. Also, see a doctor when/if:

  • The skin is painful.
  • The skin appears infected.
  • You are losing sleep or cannot concentrate.
  • You have tried self-care remedies without success.


Learn More In The Following Articles:

Eczema on the hands

What does eczema look like?

Eyelid dermatitis

Eczema on the face

Itchy rash

Eczema in the ears

Eczema on penis

Breast eczema


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