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Eczema On Legs: Symptoms, Triggers, And Treatment
09/12/20228 min read
As a skin condition, eczema can appear anywhere on your body, including your legs. But what can you do to prevent eczema on legs and treat its symptoms?
This article will offer tips to deal with outbreaks and, ultimately, avoid eczema irritation whenever possible. Let’s dive in.
Table Of Contents
- The Symptoms Of Eczema On Legs
- What To Know About Stasis Dermatitis
- How To Treat Eczema On Legs
- How To Prevent Eczema On Legs
- When To See Your Doctor About Eczema On Your Legs
Eczema On Legs: Symptoms
Symptoms of eczema typically include dry, itchy, red, and inflamed areas of skin. On the legs, it may appear more commonly near or on joints where your skin is regularly being stretched — ankles, knees, and feet.
There are variations in eczema types, and some show up more frequently on legs than others. The following are some of the most common.
Atopic dermatitis is a classic form of eczema with symptoms such as inflammation, dryness, and itchiness. It may appear on the legs with rough patches on or behind the knees. While typically episodic, it can be long-lived.
This type of eczema will cause symptoms on your legs following contact with an allergen or irritant, such as poison ivy or oak. Other culprits might be jewelry, fragrances, or skin products that contain an ingredient you’re allergic to.
Symptoms include a blistering rash, inflammation or welts, and extreme itching.
Dyshidrotic eczema shows up on your feet as itchy blisters that may also burn. As the blistered skin dries out, it may also peel.
Thick, scaly patches appear on your legs and the soles of your feet with neurodermatitis. The itching is intense, and the more you scratch it, the worse it gets. In addition, the affected parts of your legs and feet may become thick and leathery.
Nummular eczema appears as a rash of red, scaly circles that almost look like coins on your legs. These rings itch and may ooze.
Stasis Or Varicose Dermatitis
Also called venous insufficiency, of all the types of eczema on legs, this is potentially the most serious. As its names imply, it’s related to poor blood flow and varicose veins.
If you’ve been diagnosed with venous insufficiency, dermatologists recommend that you be under a doctor’s care for this condition. See your healthcare professional for treatment options.
While the root cause of stasis dermatitis is pretty clear, let’s take a look at what triggers the other types of eczema on legs.
Eczema On Legs: Common Triggers
Eczema flare-ups tend to be triggered by things in your environment that irritate your skin, causing your body to overreact. You may notice its overreaction in the form of redness, inflammation, dryness, and itching.
Allergens are often prime eczema triggers. Common allergens include strong fragrances, pollen, pet dander, molds — even certain foods.
Keep in mind some things may bother eczema-prone skin that don't bother other skin. Smoke, chemicals in a work environment, household chemicals, or even strong soaps fall into this category.
As you would expect with a condition whose prime symptom is dryness, dry air can cause eczema outbreaks, too, along with extreme temperatures of any kind. A final trigger that affects many eczema sufferers is stress.
While not all of the above triggers will affect you, knowing what triggers your eczema can help you treat your symptoms and avoid flare-ups.
How To Treat Eczema On Legs
Treatment and prevention of eczema symptoms are closely related, but here are a few specific tips for reducing an outbreak of eczema on your legs.
1) Apply Ointments, Creams, Or Lotions
Apply a good moisturizing ointment, cream, or lotion to patches of affected skin, and keep the area moisturized with regular reapplications. Ointments tend to be thickest and the most heavy-duty. Creams also can do a good job restoring moisture and locking it in.
Lotions, while the thinnest because of their high water content, are perfect for repeat applications to reduce itching, soothe your skin, and help it heal. In addition to moisture, good creams and lotions will have added vitamins, antioxidants, and botanicals for healing.
For example, Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream contains powerful ingredients that help relieve itch, like colloidal oatmeal, and is specially designed to help reduce your eczema symptoms.
2) Try Bathing Treatments And Wet Wraps
Some eczema sufferers find relief in bathing treatments and wet wraps. Just be careful with your water temperature. Hot water will irritate and dry your skin, so warm — not hot — treatments are best.
3) Be Wary Of Allergens
Remember the first category of triggers: allergens. Go slow with anything new you try for treating a flare-up. Everyone’s skin is different, and something that works well for your friend may not for you, as you could be allergic to it.
That’s the basics of treating eczema on your legs. But as the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, here are a few prevention tips.
How To Prevent Eczema On Legs
While similar to treatment, prevention is about avoiding triggers and enabling your skin to be as healthy as possible.
1) Hydrate Your Skin
To start, keep your skin hydrated. This means establishing a good routine with a focus on any areas that typically give you trouble. For example, if irritation occurs on your knees, ankles, or feet, pay special attention to moisturizing those places.
Bodewell Eczema Daily Calming Cream is a great addition to your moisturizing routine. It’s intended for regular use to keep your skin supple and help manage your eczema symptoms.
2) Eliminate Triggers
Next, eliminate your known triggers. Since there are so many potential irritants and allergens, this means determining which ones cause your skin to react and working to get rid of them in your daily life.
This may require changes to what you eat, foregoing your favorite perfume or cologne, or even switching household products.
3) Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Showering more frequently is beneficial because it can help rid your body of environmental irritants. But too hot of a shower can dry your skin out and become an irritant instead. Warm showers are your best bet for managing eczema on your legs.
In addition to hot water, extremely hot (or cold) weather can also negatively impact eczema-prone skin. To help with this, dress in layers in colder weather to protect your exposed skin from the wind. And, in the heat, stay out of the sun whenever possible.
4) Resist Scratching
It’s important to resist the urge to scratch your skin. Scratching an itch may feel good, but it will likely just irritate sensitive skin and result in a full-blown eczema flare-up.
If you do get itchy, placing a cool wet washcloth on the spot can help, as can applying a soothing lotion.
5) Avoid Irritating Clothing
Another way to protect your skin is to choose skin-friendly clothing. Some fabrics, like wool, can irritate your delicate skin barrier. As a rule of thumb: If it’s next to your skin, opt for smooth cotton instead.
6) Manage Stress
Finally, get good at managing your stress. Rarely can you remove the causes of stress, but you can learn to cope with them better. For example, some breathing and mindfulness techniques can help your body regulate.
Explore what works for you, and you may prevent eczema on your legs before it happens!
When To See Your Doctor About Eczema On Legs
You can treat the symptoms of most types of eczema with the suggestions we’ve mentioned. However, stasis or varicose dermatitis, as we’ve seen, should prompt a visit to the doctor to treat the underlying causes.
For all other types of eczema, consider seeing a physician if you:
- See signs of infection
- Experience intense pain or bleeding
- Find the itching and pain are interfering with sleeping or other aspects of daily life
Learning To Cope With Eczema
Unfortunately, there is no cure as of yet for eczema on legs. It requires consistent care and a proper moisturizing routine to lock in hydration.
Bodewell skincare products, like our Eczema Daily Calming Cream, can help minimize eczema symptoms and soothe your skin. This cream starts working immediately and provides deep hydration with no greasy feeling.
That’s a win in our book and a start on the path to better skin days!
Harvard Health Publishing National Eczema Association National Health Service