Eczema FAQ

What does eczema look like?

In a person suffering from eczema, the appearance of the skin is usually dry and flaky.1  An eczema flare-up causes the skin to be itchy, red, sore, and to potentially bleed.1 Eczema can occur in varying locations in the body, notably the scalp, hands, face, and genitals.

What triggers eczema on the face?

According to the National Eczema Society (NES), there are a variety of eczema triggers for the face, the most common ones being household irritants, food allergies, cold weather, stress, sunlight, and swimming.2  

Household irritants can include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mould. House dust mites are typically found in mattresses and bedding. It is therefore advisable to vacuum carpets and wash cushions regularly.2  Pet saliva and fur could also be eczema triggers. 

There are a few steps that can be implemented to reduce exposure to this, such as banning your pet from the bedroom, washing your hands after stroking a pet and brushing the pet regularly to remove loose fur.2    

Airborne triggers include pollen and mould, both of which are found more commonly in warm weather. It is recommended that you treat mould with bleach upon first sighting, keep your house well ventilated and that you vacuum on a regular basis.

At what age does eczema go away?

Eczema is said to be a life-long condition and can improve with continuous monitoring and treatment. As it is a chronic condition, even if it seems that it is improving, your skin can still appear dry. In some infants and children, eczema can be managed by limiting exposure to known triggers.3 

Can you suddenly develop eczema

Sudden onsets of eczema can occur, especially in adulthood when the skin gets drier. If you had eczema as a child, it could flare up in adulthood due to hormonal changes. 

Varicose eczema develops due to increased pressure in the veins of the legs and is usually seen in adults.4 Asteatotic eczema also occurs in older adults especially during winter.4  

How do I know if my baby has eczema?

For babies aged 6-12 months, eczema usually presents itself on the knees and elbows, and sometimes, yellow pus bumps can form on the skin.In babies who are younger than six months, eczema looks redder and can appear on the face, cheeks, forehead, and scalp.5 

Prominence of eczema can vary depending on your baby’s skin type. In babies with darker skin, eczema can present itself in the form of hyperpigmented patches, whilst for babies with fairer skin, affected areas appear red.5 

If you suspect your baby has eczema, consult your doctor, as the red skin could be a sign of other dermatological conditions. 

What foods help clear eczema?

Probiotics that contain lots of health-promoting bacteria may be helpful, in some cases, with eczema flare-ups.6 Certain products such as dairy and wheat may trigger flares; and your healthcare provider might ask you to cut them out of your diet. However, it is important to take an allergy test to confirm allergies to these foods beforehand.7

The above are only suggestions on what foods to avoid, and you should seek medical advice to formulate a nutritional plan in line with your eczema and potential allergies that you may have. 

Dietary supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, zinc, selenium and vitamin E have not been found to be of benefit in people with eczema.8 

How do I know if my eczema is severe?

Symptoms of severe eczema include uneven skin thickening, severe itching, and the skin having a rough appearance. An eczema severity scoring system exists to determine the severity of eczema.9

How long does eczema pain last?

Flare-ups of eczema can cause pain ranging from several days to weeks. The pain can be minimized with proper treatment. 

What does eczema pain feel like?

The skin can become inflamed and cause a burning or tingling sensation; skin itching could also be severe.10  

How do I stop an eczema flare-up at night?

There are certain steps that can be taken in order to lessen or stop the flare-up during the night. It’s important to understand that eczema can often flare up at night, due to a fall in the level of the hormone cortisol. The allergy clinic London recommends taking the following steps:

  • Invest in bedding that is made of fabric less likely to cause itching such as linen or cotton
  • Carefully select pyjama material (avoid silk or wool) 
  • Turn down heating 
  • Avoid using harsh, fragranced laundry products
  • Don’t scratch the areas affected by eczema 
  • Moisturize regularly to prevent itching
  • Clean your bedroom regularly, to avoid dust build up and eczema flares


Eczema is a dermatological condition of varying severity that may be seen in children or adults. It can cause , among other things, itching and pain.  It can be managed by careful attention to your environment, and avoidance of known triggers such as certain foods or irritants. Moisturizers or topical corticosteroids are often used to soothe the skin and treat eczema flares. 


  1. Facial eczema - National Eczema Society [Internet]. National Eczema Society. 2022 [cited 7 September 2022]. Available from: 
  2. Triggers for eczema - National Eczema Society [Internet]. National Eczema Society. 2022 [cited 5 September 2022]. Available from:  
  3. Babies and eczema - National Eczema Society [Internet]. National Eczema Society. 2022 [cited 7 September 2022]. Available from: 
  4. Eczema in later life - National Eczema Society [Internet]. National Eczema Society. 2022 [cited 7 September 2022]. Available from: 
  5. Understanding Eczema in Children [Internet]. National Eczema Association. 2022 [cited 5 September 2022]. Available from: 
  6. Fischer K. The Eczema Diet. 1st ed. [S.I.]: Exisle Publishing Pty Ltd; 2014.
  7. Bath‐Hextall FJ, Delamere FM, Williams HC. Dietary exclusions for established atopic eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2022 Sep 26];(1). Available from:
  8. Bath‐Hextall FJ, Jenkinson C, Humphreys R, Williams HC. Dietary supplements for established atopic eczema. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [Internet]. 2012 [cited 2022 Sep 26];(2). Available from:
  9. Armstrong-Brown S. The Eczema Solution. 1st ed. London: Vermilion; 2002. 
  10. Eczema: Overview. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care [Internet]. 2006 [cited 7 September 2022];. Available from: 

Rebecca Dion

Master of Public Health - MPH Student, Lund University, Sweden

Interested in health promotion for children and young adults. I have been working and studying in the multicultural environments of London , Paris and more recently in Lund. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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