How Do You Stop Eczema from Spreading?

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Eczema is a skin condition that causes skin inflammation or irritation. The most common type of which is atopic dermatitis.


What is an Eczema Flare-up?

Just when you thought you’re eczema-free, an eczema flare-up is when your symptoms of red, itchy skin rash return. Other symptoms of a flare-up include:

  • Dry skin that could get raw or swollen from scratching
  • Inflamed grey or reddish brown patches, especially on your neck, chest, elbow creases, hands, back of the knees, and feet
  • Serious itching that worsens at night
  • Skin that thickens and cracks
  • Small raised bumps that might crust or leak fluid

In most cases, these symptoms go away for a while, then flare up again after you touch something you’re allergic to or in certain settings or seasons.


List of Useful Tips on How to Prevent Eczema Flare-ups:

  1. If you can determine what triggers your flare-ups, do your best to avoid these items. If you can’t figure out your triggers, certain household items are more likely to trigger an itchy eczema episode, such as:
    • Aftershave lotion
    • Dishwashing liquids
    • Laundry detergents
    • Soaps with fragrance
    • Turpentine and other solvents
    • Wool and polyester
    • Most chemical-based household cleaners
  1. Protect your skin’s barrier with a moisturizing lotion, especially after bathing. Use a lotion that’s free of fragrances and preservatives. 
  1. Avoid scratching eczema rashes that do develop. This can help prevent cracks and cuts, which can lead to a risk of infection.
  1. Apply an anti-itch cream to the affected area. A nonprescription cream containing at least 1% hydrocortisone can temporarily relieve the itch. Apply it no more than twice a day to the affected area before moisturizing. Once your reaction has improved, you may use this type of cream less often to prevent flares.
  1. Take warm baths with baking soda or uncooked oatmeal. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then apply baby oil onto your wet skin when you’re done. Do not wipe off as it will eventually get absorbed by your skin.
  1. Try UV light therapy if your eczema is not responding to medication. Talk to your dermatologist about light therapy before using it. Research shows that ultraviolet light can relieve itching and remove blemishes. 


Where is Eczema Commonly Located?

A person may have eczema that is localized to one part of the body. Alternatively, it may spread over a larger area or develop in multiple locations.

In infants, eczema typically occurs on the scalp, forehead, cheeks, neck, and legs. 

In children and adults, eczema is most common on the face, neck, upper chest, elbow creases, wrists, hands, fingers, back of the knees, ankles, and feet.


How Does Eczema Become Infected?

The rashes that accompany eczema can leave your skin cracked and dry. In addition, eczema rashes are often itchy, causing you to scratch. All of this can leave small wounds in your skin that can become infected with bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

According to the National Eczema Foundation, staph infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus are most common. This is because your skin’s surface naturally contains S. aureus, so it is easy for it to enter cracks in your skin.

If you have infected eczema, it is probable to pass on the secondary infection to another person through close contact.

Symptoms of infected eczema include:

  • blisters or boils
  • clear or yellow discharge
  • pain
  • redness that spreads around the original rash
  • severe itchiness


There is increasing evidence that allergens introduced into the body through the skin can lead to the later development of asthma, food allergy, and hay fever. Treating eczema seriously and taking steps to restore normal skin barrier function may lower the risk of future development of these conditions.