Symptoms of an eczema flare-up

Regardless of the type of eczema, its location, or the age of the person, an eczema attack always presents in much the same way. Let's take a look at the main symptoms of an eczema attack.



Red plaques (erythema, eczema that stings, eczema that burns)

The most visible symptom of eczema is plaques. Eczema is an inflammatory disease characterized by red, sometimes swollen, badly delineated plaques with unclear edges. These eczema plaques are associated with a sensation of warmth and pain in the form of tingling and itching. The skin affected by eczema is particularly uncomfortable: it burns, stings and is itchy.

In acute eczema, the skin is often highly inflammatory and may even ooze as a result of the rupture of the small vesicles that make up the eczema plaque. This is called oozing eczema because the micro-vesicles are filled with a fluid that spreads over the plaques. In chronic eczema, the opposite is true: the skin becomes thicker and very rough to the touch.


Itching related to eczema is unavoidable. In the middle of an eczema attack, when you give in to your itching and you can't control it, it inevitably leads to scratching the plaques. In fact, we often portray a person with eczema scratching.

Itching affects everyone, including the youngest: a baby with eczema scratches in its own way, rubbing its skin against the sheets and fidgeting in its bed. The sleep of both children and their parents is often severely disrupted.


Dry skin (xerosis)

In case of eczema, the skin is dry, also called xerosis. This skin dryness is a major symptom of eczema but it tends to be underestimated and neglected. However, xerosis due to eczema is a source of discomfort. It causes itching, which is certainly a little less severe than that induced by eczema plaques, but sufficient to trigger a scratching reflex and thus an eczema attack on this dry and fragile skin. It is therefore essential to hydrate it daily, using a suitable moisturizing cream, called an emollient.

How should you treat the symptoms of eczema?

A solution for every eczema symptom:

  • On red plaques: I apply a topical corticosteroid to fight inflammation. I can combine it with a medical device to speed up the resolution of the flare-up;
  • On dry skin: I apply an emollient to soften and strengthen my skin;
  • On itchy skin: I apply cold to avoid scratching and aggravating the eczema attack.

Points to remember

Like all diseases, eczema is characterized by several symptoms that allow the physician to make the diagnosis and prescribe the first treatments.

Eczema symptoms therefore mainly include plaques, itching and dry skin. However, you should be aware that eczema symptoms may vary slightly from person to person. For example, the atopic dermatitis symptoms in infants are marked by very red, oozing plaques, and skin that is ultimately little or not at all dry. Conversely, the atopic dermatitis symptoms in older children are marked by plaques that are less red but thicker, and intense skin dryness. As for itching, it is ubiquitous regardless of age and type of eczema.

In any case, when faced with an eczema attack, it is essential to treat quickly to improve skin condition, quality of sleep and quality of life in general.

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