Treating Eczema on Different Body Parts

Treating Eczema on Different Body Parts

Do you find that your eczema tends to flare up in the same spots over and over again? Perhaps it’s your feet or the inside of your elbows. Regardless of location, it’s difficult to deal with the pain and discomfort associated with eczema.  

There are seven distinct types of eczema, which sometimes correspond to a certain body area. Nearly all surfaces of our bodies can get eczema, making it difficult to treat one specific area, especially if it suddenly appears in another. No matter where you experience eczema, from head to toe (literally), there are both general and more specific ways to get relief that we will discuss. 

    To jump to guidance for treating eczema on a specific area of your body, clicks the links below:

    Eczema inside elbows & behind knees

    The most common areas for eczema to appear are the creases of your body, primarily behind the knees and inside your elbows. These places usually have sweat and salt buildup that rubs and irritates the skin, leading to itchiness. Because of the location, it can make bending your arms and legs uncomfortable and inflame the eczema even more.


    To treat this eczema, gently wash the affected areas with mild soap that doesn’t have fragrances or preservatives. Harsher and antibacterial soaps strip natural oils from and dry your skin, which makes the itching worse. After washing, make sure to moisturize the area to prevent further drying of your skin. Find a moisturizer that works for you and use it at least twice per day to reduce the development of eczema in that area.


    Beyond the direct treatments, there are things that worsen eczema that should be avoided as well. Long showers with hot water dry your skin out and should be shortened and used with warm water instead of hot. After showers, or any time you need to dry the affected areas, carefully pat dry and apply moisturizer to not aggravate the skin.


    If possible, it’s also a huge benefit to try to nail down what your triggers of eczema are. This can include sweat, stress, soaps, detergents, dust and pollen, as well as food allergies such as eggs, milk, soy and wheat. By taking note of what you are exposed to when your eczema improves and gets worse, you better reduce the chances of flare ups.

     

    Key Takeaways:

    Treatments:

    • Use gentle soaps
    • Moisturize

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot showers
    • Rubbing while drying area
    • Potential triggers (sweat, stress, strong soaps/detergents, & more)

    Eczema on your extremities

    Eczema can also show up on your hands and feet, particularly troublesome areas due to their everyday usage, and visibility in the case of hands. Both of these forms of eczema may impede a person’s ability to perform daily tasks and actions, so effective treatment is crucial.

     

    Eczema on hands

    Also known as hand dermatitis, eczema on hands shows up as itchy blisters, cracking, or rashes primarily on the palms, but also on fingers or other parts of the hand. This most commonly affects those who work in cleaning, catering, hairdressing, healthcare, and mechanical jobs where their hands might come into contact with chemicals and other irritants. It can impact self-esteem and ability to do physical work, and because of the constant use of our hands, could be difficult to treat or steer clear of.


    Because hot water and harsh soaps worsen eczema, it’s important to limit your exposure to these when washing your hands as much as possible. In addition to these, stress, cold weather, sweat, and more might irritate the skin and lead to eczema. The best treatments are to stay hydrated, gently wash and dry your hands, don’t use waterless antibacterial cleansers that usually contain alcohol or solvents, moisturize, use a topical cream from the store or a doctor, or even wear cotton gloves to protect your skin.

     

    Key Takeaways: 

    Treatments:

    • Hydrate
    • Use gentle soaps
    • Moisturize with cream

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot water while washing hands
    • Sweat
    • Chemicals and other irritants

    Eczema on feet

    Eczema may also appear on your feet, which is challenging to treat due to most people wearing socks and shoes all day, causing even more irritation and creams and treatments being rubbed off. Most eczema on feet is dyshidrotic eczema and comes in the form of blisters and scaly or flaking skin.


    Treatment for foot eczema is similar to other areas, particularly hands. Not using hot water and harsh soaps, while minimizing sweat and other irritants that can be in contact with the skin are both helpful. In addition, using a cold compress or soaking your feet in cold water, moisturizing, and talking to a medical professional about prescriptions or further treatment should be considered to fully control flare ups.

     

    Key Takeaways: 

    Treatments:

    • Use a cold compress/soak feet in cold water
    • Moisturizing with cream

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot water
    • Strong soaps
    • Sweaty feet for long periods of time

    Chest & back eczema

    Chest and back eczema can have much larger surface area due to how much larger our torso is compared to other body parts. This appears as redness, burning or stinging, small bumps, and swelling. The primary trigger for eczema on the chest and back is diet-based reactions or contact dermatitis, when your skin comes into contact with a substance or irritant that inflames the area.


    Food allergies tend to cause eczema or rashes as well, and should be discussed with a doctor to identify what might be causing this. Contact dermatitis could be from clothes, bedding, jewelry (especially nickel), and cosmetics like fragrances and creams.


    Similar to eczema in creases like elbows and knees, identification of triggers such as hot water and sweat in combination with an effective moisturizer and a gentle body wash can clear up eczema across your torso. Finding out what materials or substances might bother your skin is also important, so keep track of what kinds of shirts, laundry detergents, or cosmetics you use when you experience a flare up and try to reduce your exposure to them in the future.

     

    Key Takeaways:

    Treatments:

    • Gentle body wash
    • Moisturize with cream
    • Cold showers

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot showers
    • Materials that might bother your skin
    • Harsh laundry detergents

    Shop-now-eczema-collection

    Eczema above the shoulders

    Some of the most visible eczema is that above the shoulders – your neck, scalp, and face can all experience outbreaks and cause rashes, intense itching and inflammation, or cracked and peeling skin. These areas are much more sensitive than other body parts such as your chest and legs, so treatment needs to take that into account.

     

    Scalp eczema

    Your scalp might exhibit eczema-like symptoms for a number of reasons, including head lice or psoriasis, so talk with a doctor to make a firm diagnosis before treating. Eczema on the scalp shows up as scaly and red skin, often with dandruff. This often is accompanied by similar symptoms on your face around the eyes and nose, and even discharge from the ear canals. The most common causes of scalp eczema are shampoo, hair products, caps or hair nets, and hair clips that contain irritating ingredients.


    Therefore, the best way to start treating this is to stop using hair products with fragrances or head equipment (that you’re able to) that could be causing the irritation. Switch to a gentle shampoo, don’t use a hair dryer on its hottest settings, and wash your hair after exercising to reduce the sweat that could aggravate or worsen the eczema. After showering, there are also antifungal creams, ointments, and sprays that will help give your scalp relief.

     

    Key Takeaways:

    Treatments:

    • Use a gentle/medicated shampoo
    • Wash hair after sweating
    • Antifungal creams/ointments/sprays

    Things to avoid:

    • Hair products with fragrances
    • Head equipment for long periods of time
    • Hair dryer’s hottest setting

    Neck eczema

    Eczema on your neck usually has symptoms that include red, dry, raised skin with small fluid-filled bumps. Similar to chest, back, and scalp eczema, neck flare ups are usually due to contact dermatitis. Because the neck is between the head and back, this may be from either shampoos and hair products or clothing and jewelry, which makes identifying triggers more difficult.


    However, avoiding the typical sweat, excessive heat, pollen, and food allergies, as well as implementing moisturizing and cold compresses into your routine often greatly reduces eczema symptoms. If it persists, discuss medications or topical treatments with a doctor.

     

    Key Takeaways: 

    Treatments:

    • Moisturize with cream
    • Use a cold compress
    • Use a gentle/medicated shampoo

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot showers
    • Leaving sweat and other irritants on your skin
    • Jewelry/clothing materials that might inflame neck area

    Facial eczema

    The most visible form of eczema, facial eczema is difficult to live with and treat because of the face’s sensitivity and exposure to external irritants. Facial eczema often appears around your eyes and nose, is often accompanied by or with scalp eczema, and is usually red, dry and flaky skin that can be weepy, crusty or blistering.


    Because our faces are so sensitive, heat and sun sometimes causes rashes and dries or irritates the skin. Stress, allergies, and cosmetics all worsen eczema and you should keep away from in order to improve and heal the face. Clean your face gently and without exfoliating scrubs and harsh soaps, use a mild makeup remover that’s free of fragrances and preservatives, and remember to moisturize, preferably with SPF to protect against the sun.

     

    Key Takeaways:

    Treatments:

    • Use a gentle face cleanser
    • Use mild makeup remover (if applicable)
    • Moisturize with SPF

    Things to avoid:

    • Extensive exposure to sun
    • Excessive makeup/cosmetics
    • Harsh facial scrubs/washes

    Other areas

    As we mentioned at the beginning, eczema shows up almost everywhere on the body. While we have covered the most common and specific areas, there can still be situations where you experience it elsewhere.

     

    Eczema on legs & arms

    While behind your knees and inside your elbows are the most likely areas to get red and itchy patches, the rest of your arms and legs might also experience eczema. The good news is that because sweat doesn’t collect as much everywhere else, eczema on your limbs is often temporary and less severe if it’s outside of the creases.


    Gently cleaning, steering clear of hot water and temperatures that could exacerbate skin irritation even further, and creams or ointments to relieve the area all apply to this type of eczema. As with other treatments, if they don’t work or you’re worried that you don’t know how to specifically treat it, talk to a doctor and get their advice.

     

    Key Takeaways: 

    Treatments:

    • Moisturize with cream
    • Cold showers/compresses
    • Showering after being sweaty

    Things to avoid:

    • Hot showers
    • Leaving sweat and other irritants on your skin
    • Clothing materials that might aggravate your skin

    Genital eczema

    Perhaps the least-discussed area to get eczema, it can cause dry and itchy skin on the genitals and in the surrounding area. While penile and vulvar eczema are different, the causes and treatments are largely the same. Sweat, stress, and yeast infections are the primary factors in genital eczema, usually from tight clothing, hot environments, and allergies. However, females may additionally experience eczema from contraceptives and hormonal changes.


    To treat both forms of genital eczema, the familiar methods of gently washing with mild soaps, staying away from hot water, and using alternatives to potentially irritating products will help this. Genital eczema can also easily be misidentified however, and should be checked by a doctor to confirm that the symptoms aren’t from an STI or other cause.

     

    Key Takeaways: 

    Treatments:

    • Wash with gentle soaps
    • Cold showers
    • Find alternatives to potentially inflaming products

    Things to avoid:

    • Yeast infections
    • Tight clothing
    • Hot environments

    Talking to a doctor

    While there are many common ways to relieve most eczema, a doctor is the best way to diagnose and treat eczema, no matter where it is. Not only will they give you stronger or harder-to-find treatments, but they can offer more specific advice and answer any questions you have. While many things might relieve eczema and rashes, some might not help you as much as they help others, so talking with a medical professional should inform the choices that will best-suit your situation and preferences.