Eczema on Legs

Eczema is a common skin condition that primarily affects children but is also found in adults. Although flare-ups can happen anywhere, they occur most often in our body’s “bendable” portions. On the legs, that means the knees, both front and back, and around the ankles and feet.

Can You Get Eczema on Legs?

The only way to guarantee that you never develop eczema on legs is to call them something else, like “hobble knobs” or “standy-sticks.” After all, you can’t get eczema on your legs if they aren’t called legs. 

However, we don’t recommend this strategy because when you complain about how itchy your stroll poles are, no one will know what you’re talking about.

The best way to manage eczema on your legs, or anywhere else it occurs is to follow the steps we’ll detail later in this article. But first, let’s look at eczema on legs (or “trample trunks” or whatever you choose to call them) in a bit more detail.

Causes and Types of Eczema on Legs

The four types of eczema that occur most frequently on the legs are atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, and asteatotic eczema.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It commonly begins in early childhood and fades with time but can remain through or occur during adulthood. Patches of dry, red-brown, or purple-gray skin covered in an itchy, scaly rash characterize the condition.

These can occur anywhere but are most often found on the 

  • Cheeks
  • Eyelids
  • Neck
  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Elbow creases
  • Behind the knees
  • Ankles.

With atopic dermatitis, your skin’s natural protective barrier is damaged by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This leads to rapid moisture loss and an increased susceptibility to external irritants. The condition is thought to have both autoimmune and allergenic causes.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can be found on the legs but can also occur anywhere on the body. It’s triggered by either an allergic or irritant reaction to something making contact with your skin, so you’ll find it wherever contact happens.

When the skin comes in contact with an allergen, it is known as allergic contact dermatitis, but when the skin comes in contact with an irritant, it is known as irritant contact dermatitis.

The condition’s characteristic rashes are similar to atopic dermatitis and are distinguished more by their cause than their presentation. To make the distinction, look for correlations between skin patch locations and where various irritating or allergenic substances make contact.

In more severe reactions, hives or oozing blisters may occur along with the more typical eczema rash. Once you know your triggers, you can avoid them to reduce future occurrences. Common causes include:

  • Jewelry
  • Skincare products
  • Soaps and cleansers
  • Fragrances
  • Makeup
  • Latex
  • Solvents
  • Poison ivy
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Nickel 


Unlike atopic dermatitis, which can be widespread, neurodermatitis is usually narrowly focused on one or two specific locations. The condition’s patches are the same thick, scaly rashes found in atopic dermatitis, but the itching tends to be more severe and can cause a painful burning sensation. 

These rashes tend to bleed because the intense itch is difficult to avoid scratching. Neurodermatitis is often found on the 

  • Legs 
  • Scalp
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Neck
  • Genitals. 

Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes this eczema, but stress appears to be a trigger.

Nummular Eczema (Discoid Eczema)

Nummular eczema is named for the shape of its rashes. In Latin, “nummular” means “coin.” This type of eczema forms round, coin-sized rashes that are usually mildly itchy, triggered by insect bites or external allergens, similar to contact dermatitis. It can be found anywhere that bites or skin contact occurs, the legs included.

Stasis Dermatitis (Varicose Eczema)

Also known as varicose eczema or “venous stasis dermatitis,” stasis dermatitis is common among people suffering from varicose veins. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes this type of eczema, but our current best understanding holds that damaged leg veins cause an increase in local blood pressure. 

This causes fluid to leak through the weakened vein walls into the surrounding tissue and causes damage to the skin around the 

  • Ankles
  • Shins
  • Calves.

During the day, this fluid pools in the skin of your lower legs, causing swelling and difficulty walking. The skin around the affected area may become 

  • Red, yellow, or brown, 
  • Dry 
  • Thickened
  • Scaly
  • Oozing, crusty sores.

 It can be accompanied by varicose veins. Stasis dermatitis appears to be an immune reaction to this extra fluid.

Asteatotic Eczema

Bringing things full circle, unlike atopic dermatitis, which mainly affects children under five, asteatotic eczema is most common in people over 60. As we age, our skin loses moisture naturally. In some individuals, this can result in itchy, dry, cracking patches of eczema, found most commonly on the lower legs.

How to Treat Eczema on Legs

We know that external irritants trigger contact dermatitis, but in truth, nearly all forms of eczema have an external component. And while we can’t control our genetics, we can control our environment, what we wear, and what we allow to contact our skin. Keeping your skin moisturized and preventing irritation should be your first course of action.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures are a common trigger of eczema. Extreme hot and cold dry air strips away moisture from the skin and makes it dry. The dryness can further lead to itching, irritation, and redness of the skin. 

Try avoiding extreme temperatures. In hot weather, try staying inside in an air conditioner, and in extreme cold, keep yourself warm by wearing clothes and using the heater. If you suspect that the air in your home is becoming dry, use a humidifier to keep it moist.

Choose The Right Clothing

When experiencing eczema, choosing the right clothing is important. Clothes that are tight and made from irritating and non-breathable fabric can irritate the skin and worsen the condition.

So wear lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton, and make sure to use a fragrance-free, dye-free detergent to wash your clothes.

Avoid Scratching

Eczema can be very uncomfortable, but resist the urge to scratch, as this will further irritate the area and may cause weeping or bleeding. Scratching the affected area can also lead to other skin infections.

Avoid Triggers

If you are aware of the irritants or allergens that may be causing your eczema, then try staying away from them to ease the symptoms.

Chemicals in skincare products, soaps, and shampoos are the most common triggers of eczema on legs. Use products that are free from harsh chemicals, like fragrances. Dyes, paraben, sulfate and gluten.

Compression Socks

It’s also worth mentioning compression stockings for stasis dermatitis. They squeeze and support the lower leg to help reduce internal pressure, which reduces fluid leakage and can help with the resulting eczema symptoms.

Eczema Skincare Routine

Treating eczema on legs starts the same way, regardless of what type it is — with a complete solution for maintaining skin health. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Care skincare routine for dry skin features a two-step process for retaining moisture and preventing damage to your skin’s protective layer. 

Eczema Shampoo

It contains Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash, which cleanses the skin without further irritating it. It contains 95% FDA-approved natural ingredients to soothe the itching and redness associated with eczema. 

  • If you take a bath daily, wash the affected area with eczema shampoo.
  • If your eczema symptoms are very mild, then you can use it 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Make sure to properly rinse the area and leave no residue behind.
  • After taking a bath, pat your skin dry, and don’t rub it. 

Eczema Cream

Follow this with Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream For Eczema to protect your skin barrier. This will help keep eczema on your legs (or shimmy shanks or getaway gams) in check and as comfortable as possible.

  • Moisturize your skin at least twice daily with eczema cream.
  • You can increase the use of frequency if your skin is becoming dry more often.
  • Moisturize your skin immediately after taking a bath when the skin is a little damp.

Happy Cappy Eczema Products are dermatologist-tested and clinically tested and safe to be used by babies, children, and adults experiencing eczema.

It’s okay. We know it’s fun to say “shimmy shanks.” Repeat it to yourself a few times, and then take proper care of it. They’re the only shanks you get.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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Can eczema affect your legs?

Yes, eczema can appear in many places on the body, and the legs are one of those places, especially behind the knees. Apart from the most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, other types of eczema can affect the legs, such as stasis dermatitis. Nummular eczema, Neurodermatitis and contact dermatitis.

What are the common symptoms of eczema on the legs?

Eczema on the legs may cause red, itchy, scaly, dry skin on the legs. It may also cause swelling, burning sensations, and small blisters.

Can eczema leave scars on my legs?

Eczema itself does not cause scars. However, excessive itching and scratching may cause scars. But don’t worry, they will heal with time.

What is the difference between atopic dermatitis and neurodermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis and neurodermatitis both may cause intense itching. Still, one of the common factors that differentiate them is atopic dermatitis can affect a widespread area, while neurodermatitis usually linked to one or two patches of skin.

What causes neurodermatitis?

The exact cause of neurodermatitis is unknown, but it is believed to be triggered by an irritant such as bug bites or tight clothing. It usually causes itchy, dry skin, and scratching the affected area can worsen the condition.

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