What Else Does Eczema Cause?

Are you familiar with eczema, the common skin condition that causes red, itchy, and inflamed patches? While its symptoms are well-known, have you ever wondered what else this complex condition can cause? In this article, we will explore the lesser-known effects of eczema on the body, shedding light on the broader impact it can have beyond just the skin. From allergic reactions to sleep disturbances, prepare to uncover the hidden side effects of eczema that you may not have considered before.

Skin Infections

Skin infections are a common and unfortunate consequence of eczema. The compromised skin barrier in individuals with eczema allows bacteria, viruses, and fungi to invade the skin, leading to various types of infections. It is crucial to understand the different categories of skin infections associated with eczema to effectively manage and prevent them.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections, such as impetigo, cellulitis, and folliculitis, can occur when eczema-related skin inflammation provides an entry point for bacteria. These infections often present with symptoms like redness, swelling, pain, and sometimes pus-filled blisters or sores. It is essential to promptly seek medical attention and receive appropriate antibiotic treatment to prevent complications and further spread of the infection.

Viral Infections

Viral infections, including herpes simplex virus (HSV) and molluscum contagiosum, can affect individuals with eczema. HSV infections can cause painful cold sores or genital ulcers, while molluscum contagiosum results in small, raised bumps on the skin. These viral infections can be particularly distressing for people with eczema, as they tend to exacerbate the existing skin inflammation and can take longer to heal. Antiviral medications and other targeted treatments may be used to manage these infections.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, such as candidiasis and tinea (ringworm), commonly affect individuals with eczema. The warm, moist conditions often present in eczema-affected skin create an ideal environment for fungal overgrowth. Symptoms of fungal infections can include redness, itching, scaling, and in some cases, the development of distinct circular or oval-shaped patches. Antifungal medications, both topical and oral, are typically prescribed to treat these infections effectively.

Scarring and Hyperpigmentation

In addition to the visible symptoms and discomfort, eczema can also leave behind long-lasting marks on the skin. Severe and chronic eczema can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation, which can significantly impact an individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

Scarring occurs when the skin is repeatedly damaged and heals improperly, resulting in thickened, discolored areas. These scars can be a constant reminder of the struggles faced with eczema, and they may take a significant toll on emotional well-being. Hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, refers to the darkening of the skin in response to inflammation. The uneven skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation can be particularly distressing, as it draws attention to the affected areas.

Psychological Impact

Living with eczema can have a profound psychological impact on individuals. The visible appearance of eczema, as well as the constant discomfort and itchiness, can significantly affect one’s mental and emotional well-being.


The relentless itchiness and unpredictability of eczema flare-ups can lead to heightened anxiety levels. The fear of triggering a flare-up or experiencing a particularly severe episode can become overwhelming. Anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as constant worry, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.


The chronic nature of eczema and the negative impact it can have on an individual’s quality of life can contribute to the development of depression. The physical discomfort, sleep disturbances, and social isolation associated with eczema can leave individuals feeling hopeless, sad, and lacking in energy. It is crucial to seek professional help if depression is interfering with day-to-day functioning and overall well-being.

Body Image Issues

Eczema can cause visible skin changes, ranging from redness and scaling to open sores and scarring. These physical manifestations of eczema can lead to body image issues and a negative perception of one’s self. The visible presence of eczema can make individuals feel self-conscious, leading to a loss of confidence and avoiding social situations.

Sleep Disturbances

Eczema-related symptoms, such as itchiness and discomfort, can significantly disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances that impact daily functioning.


One of the most challenging aspects of eczema is the persistent itchiness. The relentless urge to scratch can make it difficult to fall asleep and maintain a deep, restful sleep. Continuous scratching during sleep can also lead to the breaking of the skin, increasing the risk of infection and further worsening the eczema symptoms.


Alongside itchiness, the discomfort caused by eczema can interfere with sleep quality. The constant sensation of dryness, tightness, or a burning sensation can make it challenging to find a comfortable position and achieve a restful sleep. The resulting sleep deprivation may impact daytime alertness, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Poor Quality of Life

Living with eczema can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, affecting various aspects of daily functioning.

Social Isolation

Eczema can lead to social isolation, as individuals may feel self-conscious about their skin’s appearance and hesitant to engage in social activities. The fear of judgment or discomfort due to persistent itchiness and discomfort can lead to a withdrawal from social interactions, increasing feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Impact on Relationships

Eczema can also strain relationships, both intimate and casual. The physical discomfort and psychological toll of eczema can cause irritability and frustration, making it difficult to maintain healthy interpersonal connections. Partners, family members, and friends may struggle to understand the challenges faced by individuals with eczema, further exacerbating relationship dynamics.

Physical Discomfort

Eczema often brings about intense physical discomfort that can affect an individual’s daily life and overall well-being.

Dryness and Scaling

Dry skin is a hallmark characteristic of eczema. The lack of moisture retention in the skin can lead to flaking, cracking, and scaling. This dryness can cause significant discomfort, making it challenging to perform routine tasks or concentrate on work or school activities.

Burning Sensation

Eczema flare-ups can also be accompanied by a burning sensation, making the affected areas feel hot, tender, and painful. This burning discomfort can vary in intensity and may be exacerbated by scratching or contact with irritants.

Secondary Inflammation

Individuals with eczema are more susceptible to secondary inflammation, such as contact dermatitis and allergic reactions.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with allergens or irritants, triggering an inflammatory response. People with eczema have an increased risk of developing contact dermatitis, as their compromised skin barrier allows irritants to penetrate more easily. This can further aggravate the existing eczema symptoms, leading to increased itchiness, redness, and discomfort.

Allergic Reactions

Eczema-prone skin is also more prone to allergic reactions, which can manifest as hives, swelling, or intense itchiness. Allergens such as certain foods, pollen, or pet dander can trigger these reactions, exacerbating eczema symptoms and causing additional distress.

Impaired Work and School Performance

The physical and psychological impact of eczema can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to perform well in work or school settings. The discomfort, itchiness, and sleep disturbances associated with eczema can reduce productivity, concentration, and overall performance.

Financial Burden

Eczema can also impose a financial burden on individuals and their families. The costs associated with medical consultations, prescription medications, and specialized skin care products can quickly add up. Additionally, individuals with severe or chronic eczema may need to consider modifying their living environment to reduce triggers, which may result in additional expenses.

Increased Risk of Other Conditions

People with eczema may have a higher risk of developing other health conditions, further impacting their overall well-being.


Eczema and asthma often coexist, forming part of what is known as the “atopic march.” The two conditions share common genetic and immunological factors. Managing eczema effectively may help reduce the risk and severity of asthma symptoms.


Having eczema increases the likelihood of having other allergies, such as food allergies, hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. The compromised skin barrier in individuals with eczema allows allergens to penetrate more easily, triggering immune responses that lead to allergic reactions.

Hay Fever

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is a common condition characterized by symptoms like sneezing, itching, and a runny or blocked nose. The association between eczema and hay fever is often seen in individuals with atopic tendencies, as they share similar underlying immune dysregulation.

In conclusion, eczema goes beyond its physical symptoms and can have wide-ranging effects on an individual’s overall well-being. From the increased risk of infections and scarring to the psychological impact, sleep disturbances, and impaired quality of life, eczema can significantly affect various aspects of day-to-day living. Recognizing and addressing these additional consequences of eczema is crucial for providing comprehensive care and support to individuals living with this condition.