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Fox News
Fox News
29 Sep 2023

Eczema is a skin condition that can cause a lot of uncomfortable itching on the body. 

Eczema is very common, with over 31 million Americans experiencing at least one form of it.

Eczema's severity can differ depending on each case. One common phrase used to describe an eczema breakout is a "flare-up." 

The skin condition can erupt at any point in one's life, and there are many different factors that could cause it. 


Below is everything you need to know about eczema and how symptoms can be treated. 

Baby with ezcema

Eczema can flare up in babies and in adulthood.  (iStock)

  1. What is eczema?
  2. What are the main causes of eczema?
  3. What are the symptoms of eczema?
  4. How do you treat eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that can cause itchiness, dry skin, rashes and patches on the body. 

The condition is not contagious and can be managed, usually with moisturizers and creams to provide relief. 

There are several different types of eczema that all display different symptoms and have different causes. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. This type is commonly seen in children but can affect people of all ages. 


Contact dermatitis occurs when people come into contact with a substance they are allergic to or one that irritates the skin. Dyshidrotic eczema typically is seen on the hands and feet in the form of small blisters. The exact cause of dyshidrotic eczema is unknown, although it could be triggered by allergies, stress or frequently moist hands and feet. 

woman scratches arm

Eczema can be triggered by an allergic reaction and can appear in those with sensitive skin when they come in contact with certain products.  (iStock)

Neurodermatitis affects around 12% of the U.S. population and causes intense itching on the body. Nummular eczema appears as scattered, raised, circular patches around the body. It is not uncommon for clear liquid to ooze out of these round spots. 

Seborrheic dermatitis usually affects the scalp and causes itchiness, flakiness and redness in the area. Lastly, stasis dermatitis develops when there is poor circulation in the legs. This type of eczema is seen on this part of the body. Individuals may experience one or more types of eczema at the same time. 

There are several different factors that could cause eczema. An overactive immune system and genetics are two possible causes. 

Eczema on arm

There are many different environmental factors that could cause eczema, like contact with certain soaps that contain a fragrance.  (BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

There are many environmental factors that could cause eczema. 

These environmental factors include dry weather, extreme hot or cold, certain soaps, laundry detergents and fabric softeners, fragrances, exposure to certain metals, makeup or skin products, certain clothing materials and smoke exposure. 

Increased stress could also provoke eczema.

Eczema symptoms are present on the skin. If you have eczema, you may notice that your skin is itchy, dry, inflamed, rough, scaly, swollen and there may be areas of oozing. 

The length of time eczema symptoms could last during a "flare-up" vary. The skin could be cleared in a couple of days, or it could last many days or even weeks. 

Woman scratching her arm

Eczema can be very itchy and irritating. To treat the skin condition, moisturizers and creams are used.  (BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Eczema is treatable with a prescription or over-the-counter moisturizers, antihistamines or topical steroid creams.  

Avoid scratching the affected skin and take care to avoid known environmental irritants.

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Ashlyn Messier is a writer for Fox News Digital.