Eczema Symptoms and Triggers


Symptoms in babies

Babies’ skin is more sensitive to environmental influences than that of adults.1 Eczema can start in the first weeks of life, showing as dryness or even lesions on the forehead, cheeks, chin or thighs. The itchiness may also prevent your baby from sleeping.

Symptoms in children

In children over two years old, eczema shows as dryness, redness and flaking, most commonly in areas of the skin which fold, such as the elbows, behind the knees and ears, wrists, ankles and hands.

Symptoms in adults

In adults the appearance of the condition is much the same, but it tends to affect different areas, such as the neck, head, shoulders and chest.

Symptoms in the Elderly

As the skin ages, it becomes thinner and more sensitive.1 In the elderly, symptoms are much the same as they are in a younger adult, but can be worse, due to the lack of fat content and moisture in the skin.

Click here to learn more about eczema.


Eczema symptoms can be difficult to treat, and may require different treatments over time. Treatments fall into many categories, including:

  • Emollients or creams to keep your skin moisturised2
  • Creams or oral treatments to control itching and inflammation (for example a topical corticosteroid)
  • Antibiotics or other treatments to fight infection if you have open sores or cracked skin

Additional non-medicinal treatments can include reducing stress (which can trigger eczema flare-ups), and bandaging or wet-wrapping affected areas3, the process of which will be explained to you by your doctor.


Whilst genetics play a large role in eczema (50%-70% of eczema sufferers also have a parent who is affected by eczema), there are still many steps you can take to help prevent flare-ups, such as4:

  • Keep your skin moisturised, especially after showering and in dry weather
  • Use mild soaps or non-soap cleansers, both when washing your body and your clothes
  • Use cotton or linen as opposed to synthetic fabrics
  • Try not to scratch, as this worsens the vicious itch-scratch cycle