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Living with - Eczema

Your eczema may get better or worse for no clear reason.

There are things you can do yourself to help ease your symptoms and stop more problems.

These are as well as using:

Try to reduce the damage from scratching

Eczema (atopic eczema) is often itchy, and you will feel like scratching your skin. Sometimes you will scratch your skin out of habit or without meaning to. You may get into a cycle of scratching your itchy skin.

What scratching does to your skin

  • When you scratch you damage your skin, and this can cause you to get more eczema.
  • When you scratch for a long time, your skin thickens into leathery areas.
  • If your scratches are deep, this causes your skin to bleed and you are at more risk of having infected or scarred skin.

How you can cause less damage to your skin

  • Scratch less whenever you can.
  • Rub your skin with your fingers instead of scratching.
  • If your baby has eczema, anti-scratch mittens may stop them scratching their skin.
  • Keep your skin covered with light clothing to stop you scratching your skin.
  • Keep your nails short and clean to cause less damage when you do scratch.

Find your triggers and try to avoid them

Your GP will work with you to find out what might trigger your eczema flare-ups.

Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid them.

Eczema triggers

Looking after your mental health and emotions

Having eczema can make you feel down. You may also have feelings of anxiety and stress.

Some people worry about how their skin looks. They start to go out or meet people less often.

Sometimes this leads to depression.

Talk to your GP or skin specialist about your worries or anxieties. They understand that skin problems can make people feel this way. They will suggest treatment. This could be medicine or talking to a counsellor or other specialist.

Tips and self-help for low mood

Join a support group

There are support groups and message boards online for people with eczema.

They are usually run by other people with eczema.

In a support group you can chat to other people who have the same problems. They can give you useful advice about living with eczema.

This can help you with how you feel about yourself and help you feel less alone.

Page last reviewed: 14 April 2023
Next review due: 14 April 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.