What is eczema?

Get rid of facial eczema by using moisturizers, bathing practices, wet-wrap therapy, medications, and phototherapy.
Get rid of facial eczema by using moisturizers, bathing practices, wet-wrap therapy, medications, and phototherapy.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, makes your skin dry, red, and itchy. It appears on the face due to weather changes or contact with irritants. Eczema on the face can be stressful to manage. Because facial skin is sensitive, eczema can be sore, itchy, and uncomfortable. 

Facial eczema is commonly seen in children, but it can appear at any age. For some, it lasts only a week or two. However, it can last longer and affect your quality of life. 

What are the symptoms of facial eczema?

The symptoms of eczema on the face include redness, dryness, and skin flaking. Some may have weeping or fluid accumulation, crusting, or blistering. The skin near the eyes may appear wrinkled when rubbed.

What causes eczema on the face?

In most people, the exact cause of facial eczema can’t be detected. Genetic and environmental factors are the leading causes of facial eczema. People with a history of eczema are more likely to develop facial eczema. 

Some may develop eczema due to contact with an irritant such as a chemical or allergen. Research shows that children whose parents have allergies are more likely to have facial eczema. Also, 30% of children with atopic dermatitis have food or respiratory allergies.

The following triggers can worsen facial eczema:

  • Allergens like pollen, mold, dust, animal hair, and some foods 
  • Cold, dry weather 
  • Flu or cold
  • Contact with chemical irritants 
  • Certain fragrances or dyes in skincare products
  • Contact with rough materials like wool 
  • Emotional factors like stress 
  • Taking baths or showers too often
  • Not moisturizing skin properly

How to get rid of facial eczema?

There are many ways to get rid of facial eczema. Typically, doctors use the following facial eczema treatments:

Moisturizers or emollients

Moisturizers or emollients are an essential part of the treatment. They can be directly applied to dry and flaky skin in the form of creams and ointments. Moisturizers hydrate, soothe, protect, and repair the skin by preventing moisture loss. They are also important for the management and prevention of flare-ups.

Bathing practices

Bathing is an essential part of facial eczema treatment. Your doctor will suggest using neutral or low pH, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and irritant-free bath products. You then apply moisturizer immediately after bath to maintain skin hydration. 

Wet-wrap therapy

Wet-wrap therapy involves wearing medicated bandages, cloth, or wet wraps over the facial skin affected by eczema. You can use this therapy with or without emollients or topical corticosteroids. The covering helps decrease the severity of facial eczema and prevents scratching. It also allows the skin to remain hydrated and heal better.

Medications

Your doctor may prescribe the following topical and oral medications to treat facial eczema:

  • Topical corticosteroids. These creams or ointments can be used for both children and adults. Different corticosteroids vary in strength. Your doctor may recommend mild ones like hydrocortisone or strong ones like clobetasol propionate depending on the severity of your condition.
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors. Children and adults can also use these medications. The creams or ointments suppress your immune system. Pimecrolimus and tacrolimus are some commonly used topical calcineurin inhibitors. Apply these medications at night or with sun protection because they make your skin more sensitive to light.
  • Topical antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic creams if your skin has bacterial infection.
  • Immunosuppressive tablets. This medication suppresses your immune system and prevents skin inflammation. Immunosuppressive drugs include azathioprine, ciclosporin, and methotrexate.
  • Monoclonal antibody injections. This recent therapy uses monoclonal antibodies to suppress your immune system and prevent facial eczema. Treatments like dupilumab and baricitinib are used when other medicines don’t work.

Phototherapy 

Dermatologists use phototherapy for acute and chronic atopic dermatitis in children and adults. Phototherapy involves the use of ultraviolet or UV light to reduce skin inflammation. It is commonly chosen because it is effective and readily available. Light therapy is often used when topical medicines and other treatments can’t treat facial eczema.

Doctors prescribe phototherapy alone or in combination with other medicines. You must be careful when using phototherapy, as it can cause reactions with certain drugs.

Tips to prevent facial eczema flare-ups 

Apart from treatment, the management of facial eczema is essential for recovery. Here are some tips you can follow to take care and prevent flare-ups:

  • Cut your fingernails and avoid scratching your facial skin. Use gloves to prevent scratching in sleep.
  • Use an emollient, moisturizer, or topical corticosteroid cream to control itching
  • Moisturize and hydrate your skin two or three times each day. Use petroleum jelly or moisturizers without alcohol, fragrances, scents, dyes, and chemical irritants. Keeping a humidifier at home can help prevent skin dryness. 
  • Avoid irritants like wool, strong soaps, or detergents that can worsen your eczema. 
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature because sweating can irritate your skin. 
  • Avoid long baths or showers. Have lukewarm baths and avoid hot baths. Hot baths can dry and irritate your skin.
  • Use gentle body washes and cleansers instead of soap. Avoid scrubbing or drying your skin harshly or for prolonged durations. 
  • Moisturize immediately after bath to lock in the moisture and repair your skin. 

These tips will help you manage and heal the skin damage caused by facial eczema. If your symptoms get worse, contact your doctor to find a more suitable treatment for your skin.

QUESTION

Eczema (also atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis) is a general medical term for many types of skin inflammation. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2022
References
Sources:

AAD: "Atopic Dermatitis Clinical Guideline."

National Eczema Society: "Facial eczema."

NHS: "Treatment."

NIH: "Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Causes & Strategies for Prevention," "Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) Treatment."