Arm eczema (elbows, armpits, forearms)

Arm eczema is very common and can affect one or more parts of the arm, including the elbows, armpits and forearms.



Who is affected by arm eczema?

The areas affected by arm eczema vary according to age:

  • In babies, the arms are affected on the outer side;
  • Older children often have eczema on the inside of the elbows and wrists;
  • In adults, the skin folds are also frequently affected, as well as the outer sides of the arms and the shoulders. Eczema under the arms is also possible, due to rubbing and sweating, but also due to the use of unsuitable deodorant (e.g. containing fragrances or alcohol).

What are the consequences of arm eczema?

The itching associated with arm eczema is sometimes very intense. The child or adult scratches through their clothing, and when they can, they lift up their sleeve and scratch themselves directly: the eczema lesions on the elbow are sometimes very itchy. The risk of superinfection and scarring is then significant.

Some people are ashamed of the eczema plaques they have on their arms. Wearing long sleeves systematically allows them to hide their eczema on their forearms. Long sleeves are a bad idea, as they can cause skin irritation and/or excessive sweating, which can eventually worsen arm eczema.

How should you relieve your arm eczema?

To relieve arm eczema, the basic treatment is again based on cortisone creams, including in the skin folds, even if the skin is thinner and fragile in this area.
In the case of elbow eczema or underarm eczema, avoid the use of the ointment form and opt for the cream form to avoid any risk of maceration.

In case of severe and generalized arm eczema, apply the cortisone cream and then bandage the arm, using a moistened gauze and then a dry bandage. This large-scale bandage, also called "Wet Wrapping", can be kept on overnight and helps to optimize the efficacy of the treatment, increase skin hydration and limit scratching.

If you have eczema on your hands or wrist, wearing fancy jewelry or a watch that is too tight can be a cause. Remember to choose bracelets that are wide enough to limit friction.

Please note: eczema does not only affect the upper limbs! Leg eczema can take many forms. Varicose eczema affects the lower legs and is linked to circulatory problems. Eczema on the foot is also possible.

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