Open hours: 7:15 AM-5:00 PM Mon-Fri

Woman with eczema applying cream to her itchy elbow

If you have eczema, you know how much it can itch. In fact, itching is often the worst and most uncomfortable symptom of eczema. Eczema intense itching can even keep you up at night. Itching can also be the toughest symptom of eczema to control.

What’s eczema?

Eczema causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated. There are different types of eczema. The most common type is atopic dermatitis.

Why Does Eczema Itch?

Eczema itching can develop for a number of reasons. During an eczema flare-up, a natural process stimulates the interactive network between the immune system, the nervous system, and the skin to cause red and sore skin. The flare-up can also cause inflammation that makes the skin itch.

Does Eczema Always Cause Itching?

Eczema almost always causes itching. In fact, everyone who has this skin condition will experience some degree of eczema itch. In some cases, the itching starts before the rash appears.

What Triggers Eczema Itching?

Exposure to certain environmental factors or food can trigger eczema itching. These triggers may include:

  • Allergies
  • Certain foods
  • Changes in temperature
  • Chlorine or salt water
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Contact allergy to latex, cement, or metal
  • Exercise and sweat
  • Grass and trees
  • Hot water
  • Soaps and perfumes
  • Stress
  • Synthetic and wool clothing

Why Does Eczema Itch at Night?

Eczema itching may worsen at night for a few reasons. Moisturizer applied during the day may have worn off by night. Someone may scratch their skin while they sleep, which can make the itching worse. A person’s temperature drops at night, which can also make the skin feel itchy.

Eczema Itching Treatment and Remedies

The best way to stop skin damage associated with eczema itching is to stop scratching. This means treatment focuses on controlling the eczema itch. Dermatologists can recommend treatment that provides eczema itch relief. Eczema itch relief treatment may include:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription emollients (creams, ointments, lotions, sprays, and gels)
  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Light therapy (phototherapy)
  • Coal tar, a dark and thick liquid that eases itching
  • Topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) that alter the immune system
  • Oral or topical antibiotics for infections
  • Oral or topical antihistamines
  • Dupilumab (Dupixent) injections

Lifestyle changes may help with eczema itching. These changes may include:

  • Bathing in lukewarm water for only 5 to 10 minutes at a time
  • Using only fragrance-free moisturizers, soaps, cosmetics, and detergents
  • Applying moisturizer twice daily, especially after bathing
  • Avoiding extremely dry or hot and humid conditions
  • Wearing clothing made from cotton or other natural substances instead of synthetic ones
  • Managing allergies associated with eczema

It is always important to find a dermatologist with the training, skills, and tools needed to tailor treatment to a patient’s individual condition and needs. The dermatologists at Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery use the most advanced treatments available to ensure effective and safe treatment for eczema. Our dermatology providers can help identify the factors that contribute to its development and identify triggers in individual patients. Our cosmetic providers can also discuss and recommend an ongoing skin care regimen and treatments to help your skin look its best. For more information about treatment for eczema, contact us today!