What Happens If Eczema Is Not Treated?

Imagine a world where eczema goes untreated. Dry, itchy patches become relentless and unsightly. The skin, precious and delicate, becomes vulnerable to infections and complications that can perpetuate the cycle. But fear not, dear reader! In this article, we will explore the potential consequences of neglecting eczema and emphasize the importance of seeking proper treatment. So, sit back, relax, and let’s embark on a journey to understand the impact of leaving eczema untreated.

Skin inflammation

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by itchy and inflamed patches on the skin. If left untreated, these patches can worsen and cause a range of complications.


One common complication of untreated eczema is the development of skin infections. Due to the constant scratching and open sores, bacteria can easily enter the skin, leading to infections. These infections can be painful, spreading rapidly and requiring medical intervention to treat.

Another complication that can arise from untreated eczema is neurodermatitis. This refers to the inflammation of the nerve endings in the skin, resulting in intense itching and a vicious cycle of scratching. Neurodermatitis can further exacerbate the condition, leading to even more discomfort and frustration.

Untreated eczema can also affect the eyes, causing a range of complications such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), and even corneal damage. These eye complications can be alarming and may require specialized treatment from an ophthalmologist.

Furthermore, untreated eczema can lead to sleep disturbances. The constant itching and discomfort can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, causing fatigue and irritability during the day. Chronic sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on overall health and well-being.

Psychological Impact

The impact of untreated eczema goes beyond physical discomfort and extends to psychological well-being. Individuals with untreated eczema may experience emotional distress, as the constant itching and appearance of the inflamed patches can be frustrating and affect self-esteem. The visible nature of eczema can lead to increased self-consciousness and feelings of embarrassment.

The chronic nature of eczema and its impact on appearance can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Dealing with the persistent symptoms and the uncertainty of flare-ups can take a toll on mental health. It is important for individuals with eczema to seek support from healthcare professionals to address these psychological aspects and find appropriate coping strategies.

Untreated eczema can also lead to a negative body image. The rough and scaly appearance of the skin can make individuals feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in their own bodies. This can affect their confidence and interactions with others, potentially leading to social and interpersonal difficulties.

Quality of Life

The impact of untreated eczema can extend beyond the physical and emotional level, significantly disrupting daily activities. The constant itching and discomfort can make it difficult to concentrate on work or school. It may also affect the ability to engage in hobbies and leisure activities. Untreated eczema can limit an individual’s ability to fully participate in their daily life.

Furthermore, the impact of eczema on work or school performance cannot be ignored. The discomfort and appearance of eczema can make individuals feel self-conscious, potentially affecting their productivity, concentration, and overall performance. It is important for individuals with eczema to communicate their needs to employers or educators to ensure appropriate accommodations are in place.

In addition, untreated eczema can lead to social and interpersonal difficulties. Individuals may avoid social situations or feel isolated due to concerns about their appearance or fear of triggering a flare-up. This can impact relationships and lead to feelings of loneliness and frustration.

Chronic Itch

Untreated eczema can result in the development of a chronic itch. The intense and persistent itching can be unbearable, leading individuals to engage in compulsive scratching to alleviate the discomfort. However, this scratching often worsens the condition, causing further inflammation and skin damage.

Compulsive scratching can lead to significant skin damage, including open sores, bleeding, and scarring. These complications can be painful and may require medical intervention to prevent infection and promote healing. Breaking the itch-scratch cycle is crucial to manage eczema effectively.

Skin Discoloration

Another consequence of untreated eczema is skin discoloration. Hyperpigmentation, which refers to darkening of the skin, can occur in the affected areas. This discoloration can be a lasting reminder of past eczema flare-ups, affecting individuals’ confidence and body image.

On the other hand, hypopigmentation, or lightening of the skin, can also occur in areas affected by eczema. This uneven skin tone can be noticeable and may cause further self-consciousness and embarrassment.

Thickening of the Skin

Lichenification is a condition that arises from untreated eczema, characterized by the thickening and hardening of the skin in the affected areas. This occurs as a result of continuous scratching and rubbing, gradually reinforcing the skin’s protective barrier. Lichenification can lead to further itching and discomfort, perpetuating the eczema cycle.

In rare cases, untreated eczema can cause a severe manifestation known as elephantiasis. This condition involves extreme thickening and swelling of the skin, usually affecting the limbs. Elephantiasis can cause significant physical and emotional distress, requiring specialized medical treatment.

Increased Sensitivity

Untreated eczema can make the skin more susceptible to contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction when the skin comes into contact with certain substances. This increased sensitivity can further aggravate eczema symptoms and lead to more frequent and severe flare-ups.

In addition, untreated eczema can increase the risk of developing allergies. The compromised skin barrier in individuals with eczema allows allergens to enter more easily, potentially triggering allergic reactions. It is important for individuals with eczema to be mindful of their surroundings and take precautions to avoid potential allergens.

Poor Sleep

The intense itchiness associated with untreated eczema can disrupt sleep patterns. The itch-scratch cycle, where scratching provides temporary relief but ultimately worsens the condition, can lead to restless nights and difficulty falling asleep. This can affect the overall quality of sleep and leave individuals feeling tired and fatigued during the day.

The resulting sleep deprivation can have negative consequences on both physical and mental well-being. Fatigue can impact cognitive function, mood, and overall productivity. Seeking treatment for eczema is crucial to breaking the cycle and improving sleep quality.

Delayed Development

Untreated eczema can potentially impact growth and development, particularly in children. Malnutrition and inadequate absorption of nutrients can occur due to the impaired skin barrier, affecting overall health and growth. Additionally, eczema-related discomfort and sleep disturbances can interfere with the normal development of motor skills in young children.

It is important for parents and caregivers to seek medical attention for children with eczema to ensure proper management and support their healthy development.

In conclusion, untreated eczema can lead to a range of complications that extend beyond skin inflammation. From skin infections to psychological distress, the impact of eczema on quality of life is significant. Seeking appropriate treatment and management strategies is essential to alleviate symptoms and prevent the progression of complications. Remember that you don’t have to face eczema alone – reach out to healthcare professionals for guidance and support.