Can Eczema Go Away On Its Own?


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lee Hwee Chyen

MBBS MRCP (UK) FAMS (Dermatology)

Can Eczema Go Away On Its Own?

Understanding Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition characterised by itchy, red, and dry skin. It is most common in young children but can affect people of all ages. The condition occurs due to an overactive immune system and dysfunctional skin barrier.

There is currently no cure for eczema, but treatments can manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups.

Triggers That Cause Flareups

Eczema flare-ups can be caused by a broad range of triggers. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

  • Allergens: Substances such as dust mites, moulds, pollens, pet dander, certain foods or even certain types of medicines can cause allergic reactions leading to flare-ups.
  • Irritants: Everyday products like soaps, shampoos, detergents, disinfectants, or synthetic fabrics can irritate the skin and provoke a flare-up.
  • Climate: Dry or humid weather conditions, or sudden changes in temperature or humidity, can dry out the skin and trigger a flare-up.
  • Infections: Skin infections caused by bacteria or viruses can exacerbate eczema.
  • Stress: Although stress doesn’t cause eczema, it can trigger a flare-up.

Understanding the individual’s specific triggers is a key step in managing eczema effectively.

Can Eczema Go Away On Its Own?

Many wonder whether eczema can resolve without treatment. The answer is largely dependent on the individual’s type of eczema, age, environmental factors, and overall health status. People with mild eczema may notice their symptoms improve as they age. For some, childhood eczema completely resolves by adulthood.

In most cases, eczema is a chronic condition. For many individuals, particularly those with severe or persistent forms of the disease, symptoms may lessen but not completely go away. Even between flare-ups, the skin may remain dry and easily irritated.

There are also instances, where patients experience periods of remission where the skin stays clear of eczema. These periods can last for weeks, months, or even years. Nonetheless, a trigger could potentially cause symptoms to return at any time.

Factors Affecting The Healing of Eczema

woman eating well to manage eczema symptoms

While individual experiences with eczema vary significantly, several factors can influence the progression and healing of the condition.

  • Personal habits and lifestyle choices: Smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor personal hygiene all impact skin health and can affect the healing of eczema.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as pollutants or harsh weather conditions, may prolong the healing process.
  • Stress and emotional health: High levels of stress or emotional well-being can affect eczema, causing flare-ups or slowing healing.
  • Diet: Certain foods can trigger flare-ups, extending the healing process.

Understanding these factors can help individuals and their dermatologists devise strategies tailored specifically to them to manage and control eczema better.

The Connection Between Stress and Eczema

Stress is a well-documented trigger for eczema flare-ups; however, the relationship between both is complex.

Eczema itself can cause significant stress and anxiety due to persistent discomfort and concern over the appearance of the skin. This stress, in turn, can trigger an eczema flare-up, establishing a vicious cycle that can be challenging to break.

Furthermore, stress can lead to behaviours such as scratching that can worsen eczema. Stress-management techniques including relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and counselling can help break this cycle, assisting in better management of eczema.

Managing stress can prove beneficial but not a substitute for a comprehensive treatment plan for eczema.

When to Seek Medical Help?

Consult a dermatologist specialising in eczema in the following circumstances:

  • Persistent discomfort: If itching prevents normal daily activities or disrupts sleep.
  • Pain: If the skin becomes painful or sensitive to touch.
  • Infection: Redness, warmth, swelling, yellow crusts or blisters are signs of infection.
  • No improvement with self-care: If symptoms don’t improve despite using over-the-counter ointments and creams.
  • Bleeding and weeping skin: If extensive areas of the skin are weeping or bleeding.

Your dermatologist can help identify the cause of the symptoms and recommend a personalised treatment plan based on your health and lifestyle. Eczema can be managed successfully when treated early and effectively, improving quality of life and reducing discomfort.

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