Eczema on Shoulders & Back

What is Eczema on Shoulders and Back?

Eczema also called ‘atopic dermatitis’ is a chronic skin condition that manifests as redness, inflammation, itching, and skin swelling. While it most commonly appears on the neck, wrists, elbows, knees, and skin folds, it can also pop up on the shoulders and back. Luckily, eczema on the shoulders and back is not dangerous or contagious.

What Causes Eczema on Back

Eczema can appear on the back when the skin is more sensitive than usual, multiple factors may work together to cause eczema on the back. Some of the most common ones are

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Impaired skin barrier
  • Overactive immune system. 

But an eczema flare-up on the back and shoulders is usually triggered by

  • Irritants
  • Cosmetics
  • Perfume and fragrance
  • Chemicals in skincare products
  • Detergent 
  • Dry skin
  • Extreme weather
  • Rough fabric
  • Tight clothing

Symptoms of Eczema

The severity, symptoms, triggers, and even appearance of this skin condition vary from person to person. However, most people begin to show symptoms in early childhood and see them disappear in adulthood.

The most common symptoms of eczema on the shoulders and back include:

  • Dryness
  • Flaky skin
  • Darkening of the affected area
  • Fluid-filled blisters
  • Inflammation (swelling and warmth of the area)
  • Small bumps
  • Scaly skin
  • Skin thickening (lichenification) 
  • Redness (pink or red skin in lighter skin tones and purple or brown on darker skin)

Who is at Risk of Developing Eczema on the Back?

Anyone can develop eczema on the shoulders and back. However certain people are more prone to developing it than others. People who have a family health history of

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Hay fever
  • Food allergies

Are at more risk of developing it or experiencing an eczema flareup.

Is It an Eczema Rash or Something Else?

Other potential causes of rashes on the shoulders and back besides eczema include 

  • Allergic reactions
  • Fungal infections
  • Viral rashes
  • Some forms of strep throat.
  • Heat rash (Miliaria) 

How can you tell if the rash is from eczema or not?

The best way to be sure of what is causing that red rash on the back is to speak to your doctor or pediatrician. You can also look at the rash and see if it matches the most common eczema symptoms.

When to Consult a Doctor?

Sometimes, a rash on the shoulders or back can be a sign of a serious condition like skin cancer. If you notice a back rash, consult with your doctor. Additionally, watch for signs of a more serious condition like

  • Fever and chills
  • Breathing issues like shortness of breath, inability to breathe, or trouble breathing
  • Change in level of alertness or consciousness
  • Stiffness or joint pain
  • Sudden worsening of symptoms

How to Treat Eczema on the Shoulders and Back?

If you do indeed have eczema on your shoulders and back, there are several ways to soothe symptoms and reduce the frequency of eczema flare-ups, including trigger management and proper skin care.

Choose the Right Products

This skin condition is often brought on or worsened by triggers, which are environmental factors that irritate the skin and cause an eczema flare-up. The most common trigger for eczema on the back is irritating products, like 

  • Scented shampoo or body wash 
  • Detergent with harsh chemicals and fragrance

It’s best to avoid these products and instead use a body wash and shampoo for eczema, like Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash. It is Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and gentle enough for daily use on sensitive skin. Choose a fragrance free mild detergent for washing your clothes.

Skincare Routine

eczema skincare routine

The proper skincare routine is imperative to soothe eczema rashes on your back, protect the skin’s natural barrier to fight off irritants, and help prevent eczema. Good skin care includes 


If your eczema does not get better with proper skincare then consult a dermatologist they may prescribe certain medications depending on the severity of your eczema. Some of the most prescribed medications are

  • Antihistamines
  • Topical steroids
  • Antibiotics
  • Topical immunomodulators


Eczema is a chronic skin condition that can develop on the shoulders and back as well. It appears as red, itchy, scaly, inflamed, irritated skin rashes. It can also cause small blisters and bumps that may ooze.

Eczema on back and shoulders is mostly caused when the skin comes in contact with a certain allergen or irritant –this is known as contact dermatitis. The most common triggers are chemicals in skincare products, shampoo, body wash, and detergent.

Eczema can be managed by following a proper skincare routine, which must include cleansing the skin with an eczema cleanser and moisturizing the skin with an eczema cream. Make sure these eczema products are fragrance-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, dye-free, and hypoallergenic.


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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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What triggers eczema on the shoulders?

Certain elements can cause eczema flare-ups, such as allergens, irritants, extreme weather, rough clothing, and insect bites.

What does eczema look like on the shoulder and back?

It usually appears as an itchy, dry, and scaly rash, which may appear red on lighter skin tones and purple or brownish on darker skin tones.

How to manage eczema on the back?

The best way to manage eczema on the back is by
1 moisturizing the skin with eczema cream
2 avoiding potential allergens and irritants
3 wearing light, loose clothing
4 avoiding scratching the rash.

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