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Eczema: More Than Just a Skin Condition

When some people hear the word eczema, they may think of it as being nothing more than itchy skin. But the truth is, people living with eczema may suffer serious emotional and psychological effects.

Eczema is a condition characterized by dry, red patches of skin that are intensely itchy. The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis. Eczema usually begins in childhood but can begin in adolescence and adulthood. It is a common condition that affects 10% to 20% of children and 5% to 10% of adults. 

If you or someone you know is living with eczema, it’s important to understand the condition and how it may be managed. Read on to learn more.

The impact of eczema on patients

Having eczema can have a negative impact on many aspects of a person’s life. It may affect them:


In the workplace

In social situations

During daily activities

“I often tend to avoid eye contact, as I’m embarrassed with what people might see…and think. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been asked things like ‘Who beat you up?’, ‘Did you cut yourself shaving?’, and ‘Ugh, is that contagious?’” 

--An eczema patient

Stress, anxiety, and eczema

Stress and anxiety are known to be common triggers that can cause eczema to flare up. This can then lead to even more stress and anxiety which can, in turn, lead to even more flares. Reducing stress and anxiety in your life may help break this cycle. Talk with your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your stress and anxiety. 

Managing eczema

While it can be challenging to live with eczema, there are things you can do to help you manage everyday life. Talk with your healthcare provider about the following tips and other suggestions he or she may have.

Manage stress 

Make sleep a priority 
To relieve the itch that can interfere with good sleep, try:

Learn how to talk about eczema

Get support to reframe your situation
Eczema symptoms may affect you during your daily life. While you may not always be able to control your symptoms, there are ways you may be able to better cope with living with eczema. For example:

Join a support group 

Despite the challenges that living with eczema can bring, there are things you can do to lessen its impact on your life. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you have and steps you can take to help manage eczema.



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  • 2. National Eczema Association. Atopic Dermatitis. Accessed February 28, 2019.
  • 3. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Eczema in Children. Accessed March 1, 2019.
  • 4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema Can Have Many Effects on Patients’ Health. Accessed February 21, 2019.
  • 5. National Institutes of Health. Genetics Home Reference. Atopic Dermatitis. Accessed February 13, 2019.
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