Eczema can cause skin discoloration and irritation anywhere, including the face. People can often manage a facial eczema rash by following specific facial cleaning practices and avoiding triggers.
Eczema on the face may present several characteristics, such as:
There’s currently no cure for eczema, but there are ways people can manage their symptoms. The condition typically presents in a cyclic manner. It tends to improve and then get worse again. The cycle continually repeats. Doctors refer to the periods of worsening symptoms as flares.
In children, the face is often one of the first places eczema develops. It usually starts between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.
In this article, we examine how to treat eczema on the face. We also look at when it’s recommended that a person should discuss facial eczema with a doctor.
Tips and strategies that may help an individual eliminate eczema on the face are provided below.
The following pictures show some of the ways eczema can appear on the skin.
Eczema causes skin changes.
- a dry rash
- changes in skin color
- skin thickening due to rubbing or scratching
- secondary infections due to rubbing or scratching
- papules that may look skin-colored, red on lighter skin, or dark on darker skin
The precise symptoms will depend on the type of eczema.
Conditions that can have skin symptoms include:
- a fungal or yeast infection
- a bacterial skin infection such as impetigo
- an adverse reaction to medications for other conditions
- an allergic reaction
Psoriasis tends to have milder itching than eczema and causes patches of thick, inflamed skin. Impetigo causes blistering.
A doctor can examine a person and diagnose eczema or another condition.
Environmental triggers for eczema may vary between individuals but include exposure to:
- dust mites
- face creams and cosmetics
- cleaning products
- air pollution
- nail polish
- hair dye
- house paint
- some medications
- jewelry, for instance, dangling earrings
Psychological stress may make symptoms worse, according to
Several types of eczema can affect the face.
- atopic dermatitis, which may be due to a faulty immune response
- contact dermatitis, which results from contact with cosmetics and other substances
- discoid eczema, also called neurodermatitis and leads to small patches of itchy, scaly skin
- nummular eczema, which causes small, round lesions, usually on the arms and legs
- seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dandruff and can affect the beard area
Various home remedies can help manage eczema on the face.
Hygiene and skin care
Good hygiene practices may help people manage and reduce symptoms.
- washing the skin regularly
- avoiding using soap or heavily scented products that can over-dry or irritate the skin
- taking short, lukewarm showers or baths
- patting the skin dry instead of rubbing it
- moisturizing right after bathing
Additionally, using hydrating creams regularly may help heal the skin and keep it from getting too dry.
Some people with eczema may find that diluted bleach baths help reduce inflammation and skin bacteria. The National Eczema Association notes that bleach concentration is similar to that of a chlorinated swimming pool. The association recommends bathing for around 5–10 minutes each session.
Additionally, parents and caregivers should ensure they carefully wipe and dry an infant’s mouth and face after eating. They should avoid using commercial, premoistened wipes on the face.
Identify and avoid potential triggers
A person can take steps to improve eczema by avoiding substances that may irritate the skin, such as soap, essential oils, scented products, and jewelry.
While sun exposure can decrease inflammation in the skin and improve eczema, the heat and sweat from sun exposure can trigger a flare.
Identifying triggers and avoiding them may help improve eczema symptoms.
Try not to scratch
Eczema may cause severe itching in some people, but scratching can make it worse. Keeping the fingernails as short as possible can help prevent scratching.
For infants with eczema on the face, anti-scratch mittens can help prevent them from scratching their skin.
Take steps to avoid nighttime itching
Many people with eczema have difficulty sleeping due to itching. To relieve itching, a person can try:
- using topical medications in the late afternoon and early evening
- sleeping on a cooling pillow
- sleeping with a cooling mask
- using a humidifier to help prevent household air from becoming too dry
Wet wraps can also help ease nighttime itching, especially for children and infants.
Some people can manage their facial eczema with self-care, but professional medical support may be necessary to help others.
Individuals should see a healthcare professional for eczema on the face if:
- the itching rarely stops
- large skin areas have inflammation
- the skin is bleeding or oozing
- affected skin areas are sore and swollen
- yellow crusts form on the skin’s surface
- sleep is interrupted
A dermatologist, allergist, or general practitioner can help people learn more about their condition and treat it more effectively.
A doctor can determine if an individual’s condition is eczema or something that looks like eczema, which would require different treatments.
After making a diagnosis, a doctor can show people how to manage eczema on the face through a comprehensive treatment approach. This may include a mix of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescription drugs.
Doctors can also work with people to identify what’s causing their eczema flares and develop a plan to avoid or limit triggers.
OTC and prescription medications can help people manage itching. Doctors and pharmacists can advise on effective ways to use these products.
A healthcare professional will likely recommend a suitable moisturizing product with low levels of preservatives and no added scent. Ointments may be better than lotions because they contain more oil.
A doctor or dermatologist may also suggest trying a cooling mask consisting of rice paper over topical medications or moisturizer for to help relieve symptoms.
Medications may help, depending on the type of eczema.
- topical anti-inflammatory creams or ointments, with or without steroids
- antihistamines, in some cases, for people with severe itching at night
- antibiotics to help reduce the risk of infections
- treatment for eye complications if appropriate
Eczema is a group of skin conditions that cause inflammation and significant itching. It can develop anywhere on the body, but it is particularly uncomfortable when it appears on the face.
Eczema frequently develops on young children’s faces, but it can also occur in adults.
To minimize the effect of eczema on the face, it’s important that people follow these recommendations:
- make sure that their condition is eczema and not something else
- take care not to make it worse
- take steps to heal the skin
Understanding and avoiding triggers, practicing gentle hygiene, and moisturizing regularly are key steps to reduce facial eczema.