Can Eczema Go Without Treatment?

Have you ever wondered if eczema could possibly heal on its own, without any medical intervention? In this article, we will explore the question of whether eczema can go without treatment. Eczema, a common skin condition, can cause redness, itching, and inflammation, resulting in a great deal of discomfort. It is important to understand the potential outcomes of leaving eczema untreated and whether there are any natural remedies that could help alleviate symptoms. So, let’s delve into the world of eczema and discover the possibilities together.

What is Eczema?

Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that causes redness, itching, and inflammation. It is a common condition that affects people of all ages, and it can be a source of discomfort and frustration. Eczema is not contagious and often runs in families. While there is no cure for eczema, there are many treatments available to help manage the symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Understanding the different types of eczema and the potential risks of leaving it untreated is essential for effective management.

Overview of Eczema

Eczema is characterized by dry, sensitive skin that is prone to inflammation and irritation. It usually appears as patches of red, itchy skin, which can become cracked, blistered, or scaly. The severity of eczema symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and they can come and go over time. While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Common Symptoms of Eczema

The most common symptoms of eczema include dry, itchy skin, red or brownish-gray patches, small raised bumps that may ooze and crust over, thickened, cracked, or scaly skin, and skin that becomes raw and sensitive from scratching. In addition to these physical symptoms, eczema can also have an emotional impact, causing feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or frustration.

Causes of Eczema

Understanding the underlying causes of eczema can help in effective management and prevention of flare-ups. While the exact cause is unknown, several factors have been identified as contributing to the development of eczema.

Genetic Factors

Eczema tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. If you have a family history of eczema or other allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever, you may be more likely to develop eczema.

Environmental Triggers

Certain environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate eczema symptoms. These triggers can vary from person to person but commonly include irritants like harsh soaps or detergents, allergens like pollen or pet dander, and extreme temperatures or humidity.

Skin Barrier Dysfunction

People with eczema often have a weakened skin barrier, which makes the skin more susceptible to irritants and allergens. This can lead to inflammation and an exaggerated immune response.

Immune System Abnormalities

Eczema is also believed to involve an abnormal immune response. The immune system overreacts to certain substances or environmental factors, leading to inflammation and the characteristic symptoms of eczema.

Types of Eczema

Eczema can manifest in different forms, each with its own unique characteristics. Understanding the different types of eczema can help in identifying the best treatment approach.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema, often beginning in childhood. It is characterized by red, itchy skin and is often accompanied by other allergic conditions like asthma or hay fever.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an irritant or an allergen, leading to a localized rash. It can be either allergic or irritant in nature and typically improves once the offending substance is removed.

Nummular Eczema

Nummular eczema is characterized by circular or coin-shaped patches of irritated skin. It can be triggered by dry skin, environmental factors, or an allergic reaction.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis mainly affects the scalp, face, or parts of the body with a high concentration of oil glands. It is characterized by red, scaly patches and can also cause dandruff or cradle cap in infants.

Can Eczema Resolve on Its Own?

While eczema is a chronic condition, it is possible for symptoms to improve or go into remission without treatment. However, this varies from person to person, and there are several factors that can affect resolution.

Spontaneous Remission

In some cases, eczema symptoms can spontaneously resolve on their own without any treatment. This may be more common in children, with some experiencing a complete resolution of symptoms as they get older.

Factors That Can Affect Resolution

Several factors can impact the resolution of eczema. These may include genetic factors, the severity of symptoms, the presence of comorbidities like asthma or hay fever, and the effectiveness of self-care measures and treatments.

Potential Risks of Untreated Eczema

While eczema can sometimes improve on its own, leaving it untreated can pose certain risks and complications.

Skin Infections

Scratching the itchy skin associated with eczema can break the skin barrier, making it susceptible to infections. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can develop, leading to additional discomfort and the need for medical intervention.

Psychological Impact

Eczema can have a significant impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. The constant itching and visible skin changes can cause distress and negatively affect a person’s self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life.

Scarring and Discoloration

Persistent or severe eczema can cause skin thickening, scarring, and permanent changes in skin color or texture. These long-term effects can be cosmetically undesirable and may further contribute to emotional distress.

Sleep Disturbances

Itchy skin can interfere with sleep, causing difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Poor sleep quality can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and reduced cognitive functioning.

Self-Care and Lifestyle Changes for Eczema Management

While treatment for eczema typically involves medical interventions, self-care and lifestyle changes play a vital role in managing symptoms and preventing flare-ups.

Daily Moisturizing

Regularly moisturizing the skin is crucial in managing eczema. Applying a suitable moisturizer after bathing helps to lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated.

Avoiding Triggers

Identifying and avoiding triggers that worsen eczema symptoms is important. This may include avoiding certain fabrics, using fragrance-free products, and minimizing exposure to known irritants or allergens.

Appropriate Bathing Techniques

Taking care when bathing can help prevent the drying and irritation of the skin. Using lukewarm water instead of hot water, limiting bathing time, and using mild, fragrance-free cleansers are recommended.

Dietary Modifications

While the impact of diet on eczema is still being researched, some individuals may find that certain foods trigger or worsen their symptoms. Keeping a food diary and working with a healthcare professional can help identify any dietary triggers.

Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress has been known to exacerbate eczema symptoms. Incorporating stress reduction techniques such as exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies can help manage stress levels and potentially reduce flare-ups.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Treatments for Eczema

Over-the-counter treatments can provide relief for mild to moderate eczema symptoms. These treatments aim to reduce inflammation, alleviate itching, and moisturize the skin.

Topical Corticosteroids

OTC corticosteroid creams or ointments can help reduce inflammation, itching, and redness associated with eczema. It is important to follow the instructions and use them as directed.

Moisturizers and Emollients

Using gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers regularly can help keep the skin hydrated and prevent dryness and itching. Look for products containing ingredients like ceramides or hyaluronic acid.


Antihistamines can help relieve itching, especially at night, and promote better sleep. However, they may cause drowsiness, so it is important to choose an appropriate formulation.

Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors

These non-steroidal creams or ointments help reduce inflammation and itching. They can be used in delicate areas like the face or for long-term management of eczema.

Oatmeal Baths

Taking a bath with colloidal oatmeal can help soothe itchy skin and provide relief. Oatmeal has natural properties that can moisturize and calm irritated skin.

Wet Wrap Therapy

Wet wrap therapy involves applying moisturizer to the skin and then wrapping it in wet bandages or clothing. This technique can be effective in providing intense hydration and reducing inflammation.

Prescription Medications for Eczema

For more severe or persistent cases of eczema, prescription medications may be necessary. These treatments aim to target the underlying causes of eczema and provide relief from symptoms.

Topical Immunomodulators

Prescription-strength immunomodulators are used to reduce inflammation and control eczema symptoms. They are typically used for short-term relief and should be used as directed.

Oral Corticosteroids

In severe cases, oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation and control symptoms. However, these medications are generally used for short periods due to potential side effects.


Exposing the affected skin to controlled amounts of natural or artificial ultraviolet light can help reduce inflammation and decrease eczema symptoms. Phototherapy is usually done under medical supervision.

Biologic Drugs

Biologic drugs are a newer class of medications used for severe eczema that does not respond to other treatments. These medications work by targeting specific molecules involved in the immune response.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Eczema

In addition to traditional medical treatments, certain complementary therapies may also provide relief and support eczema management.

Natural Remedies

Some natural remedies like coconut oil, aloe vera, or chamomile can help soothe eczema symptoms. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using these remedies.


Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese practice, involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to help rebalance the body’s energy and potentially relieve eczema symptoms.


Research suggests that probiotics, “good” bacteria that support a healthy gut, may help improve eczema symptoms. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods or taken as supplements.

Herbal Treatments

Certain herbs like calendula, witch hazel, or chamomile have anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief for eczema symptoms. However, it is important to use them under the guidance of a healthcare professional.


Hypnotherapy involves guided relaxation and focused attention to help manage stress and potentially improve eczema symptoms. It is a complementary therapy that may be used in conjunction with medical treatments.


Using essential oils in a diffuser or in bath water can provide a calming effect and help relieve eczema-related itching. It is essential to dilute essential oils and use them cautiously to avoid skin irritation.


Eczema is a common chronic skin condition that can cause significant discomfort and impact a person’s quality of life. While there is no cure for eczema, there are many treatment options available to manage the symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Understanding the different types of eczema, potential risks of leaving it untreated, and the various self-care measures and medical treatments can help individuals effectively manage their condition. It is important to work with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses individual needs and preferences. With proper management and care, individuals with eczema can lead fulfilling and comfortable lives.