Living with or caring for someone with eczema can be challenging. Support groups can help provide emotional support and education. People can consider online or in-person groups to help them navigate the condition.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that affects more than 31 million people in the United States.

The condition arises when the integrity of the skin barrier is compromised, leading to dryness and irritation. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including itchiness, skin discoloration, and scaly rashes.

Living with eczema can also affect a person’s mental health. The symptoms of eczema can be painful or frustrating and may make some people self-conscious. This can cause stress, anxiety, and affect a person’s emotional well-being.

A support group of others living with eczema can provide emotional relief by helping build connections with those who understand the condition. Read on to learn more about how a support group can help people with eczema and how to find one that works for them.

Support groups provide many benefits to their members by creating a space for people to share their experiences while expressing their emotions to people who understand what they are going through. By creating a space where people can feel understood and accepted, support groups can help provide emotional relief for people living with eczema.

This is important given the emotional burden of this condition. According to a 2020 study involving more than 526,000 adults with eczema living in the United Kingdom, people with eczema were 14% more likely to develop depression and 17% more likely to develop anxiety than people without eczema.

These effects were more pronounced as the severity of symptoms increased.

There are similar trends among children with eczema. Research from 2021 notes that symptoms of depression are more than twice as likely to occur in children with eczema than in those without, particularly those with severe eczema symptoms.

Even children with mild or moderate eczema are more likely to exhibit internalizing behaviors, such as becoming withdrawn or having feelings of loneliness, which may suggest a future risk for depression.

Up to 1 in 5 children worldwide experience eczema, and symptoms most often begin before 5 years of age. One 2019 study found that internalizing behaviors that develop by 5 years of age link to negative physical and emotional health effects in adolescence and early adulthood, including disordered eating.

However, research has also found that a support group for young people with allergic conditions can help improve their self-esteem and emotional health and increase self-care behaviors.

In addition to emotional relief, support groups offer an opportunity to learn from experts as well as others who are living with eczema or caring for someone with the condition.

Sharing experiences in these settings can help others learn things such as how to better manage their symptoms, cope with their condition, and communicate more effectively with their healthcare teams.

As digital technology has advanced, support groups have become more accessible. People can access these resources no matter where they live and even while they are traveling. However, some people may still prefer in-person meetings over virtual ones.

Many organizations that host eczema support groups offer both online and in-person options so that people can access the type of meeting that is right for them.

Some people worry that online support groups will not be as helpful or allow them to build the same kind of connections they would at an in-person group. However, 2018 research suggests that digital support groups offer many benefits, including improvements in self-perceived health, depression, and self-sufficiency of caregivers.

Online support groups can vary considerably in their organization. Groups hosted by national organizations or healthcare centers may have more structure and include more educational resources.

Member-led groups formed on platforms such as Facebook may help connect thousands of people living with eczema worldwide but sometimes do not have healthcare professionals monitoring their content. In these types of groups, it is important to double-check that all information shared is medically accurate.

Many national eczema and patient advocacy organizations host online support groups accessible to people with eczema and their caregivers.

The National Eczema Association offers forums for people with eczema, as well as healthcare experts, to connect on social media through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It also has a support line that people can contact to learn more about the resources it offers.

Eczema Exchange is an online support group and discussion community hosted by Inspire, a platform dedicated to building condition-specific support communities. The Eczema Exchange community is for people living with eczema and their caregivers. It includes channels for discussing treatment options, complementary and alternative therapies, and eczema news.

The Global Parents for Eczema Research organization is a group specifically focused on providing support for children with eczema. In addition to education and information on eczema research, parents of children with eczema can join the Support for Eczema Caregiver Program to connect with other caregivers online or via text.

While the Allergy and Asthma Network does not offer support groups in the traditional sense, it does host events that allow people with eczema to connect with other individuals, families, and healthcare professionals affected by eczema. Many of these events are online but also offer in-person community events.

In addition to virtual groups, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America provides a list of local support groups across the U.S. open to people with asthma and other allergic conditions, including eczema. A person can view groups and their contact details by state.

Local healthcare centers or dermatology clinics may also host support groups for people living with eczema. People with eczema and their caregivers can ask their healthcare teams for more information about support groups available in their area.

Living with or caring for a child with eczema can be challenging. Support groups can help provide emotional support as well as education to help those affected by eczema cope with their condition and learn more about how to care for themselves.

A variety of online and in-person support groups are available from national and local organizations. People interested in joining an eczema support group can learn more at the links above or by talking with their healthcare team about local support communities.