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A Closer Look At Sudden Eczema In Adults

A Closer Look At Sudden Eczema In Adults

You wake up one morning, ready to face the day. But then you discover an uninvited guest has set up a camp on your skin. You’re left scratching your head (and the affected area). It’s not acne, but what puzzling skin condition has decided to bless your adulthood? It’s sudden eczema.

This blog will guide you through the mysterious realm of adult-onset eczema. And get to the bottom of its causes, symptoms, and management strategies.

Is Sudden Eczema in Adults Possible?

If you are wondering, is sudden eczema possible in adults? Then the answer would be ‘Yes’ even though eczema is usually considered a skin condition you experience in childhood. Eczema can reappear or develop for the first time in adulthood. When a person above 18 experiences eczema, it is classified as adult-onset eczema. There are chances a person with no history of eczema in childhood may experience it in adulthood.

Adult-onset eczema may present differently than childhood eczema or scientifically known as Atopic Dermatitis. It can appear on any body part but is most common on the eyes, feet, hands, face, outside and inside elbows and knees. And is typically characterized by red, itchy, inflamed, dry skin.

Eczema can be more challenging for adults because it affects not only their skin but every aspect of daily life. Especially the itch factor of eczema can be irritating, affect sleep, concentration, and mood, and significantly impact personal relationships.

What is Eczema?

Atopic Dermatitis or more commonly known as eczema, is an inflammatory skin condition. That develops red, inflamed, dry, itchy rashes on the skin. It is a condition in which the skin barrier is not functioning correctly. Cracks appear in the top layer of the skin, which causes dehydration and inflammation of the skin. Making your skin more eczema prone.

Some common symptoms of eczema are:

  • Dry skin
  • Skin inflammation
  • Red, irritated skin on lighter skin tones, and on darker skin tones, it may appear darker than usual or purple.
  • Intense itching
  • Rough patches of skin known as lichenification
  • The affected areas may become swollen
  • In severe cases, the skin may ooze

The appearance of symptoms and their severity depends on the condition. Eczema is often confused with other skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and ringworms.

In adults, the itching usually intensifies at night, making it hard for them to sleep. The skin becomes extra sensitive during eczema, making it prone to infections. A timely diagnosis and proper treatment plan should be followed to relieve the redness, inflammation, and itchiness associated with eczema.

What Causes Sudden Eczema In Adults?

As we grow older, our skin barrier becomes less effective at retaining moisture and self-repairing, contributing to eczema. The exact cause of eczema is still not known. But it is typically associated with skin barrier dysfunction. Several factors contribute to the dysfunction, such as:

  • Genetics:

Eczema is more likely to strike those with a history of allergies, asthma, or eczema in their families.

  • Allergens:

Although it is less common, eczema flare-ups can be triggered by allergies to specific substances. This can be either food, clothes, temperature, or pollen.

  • Stress and worry:

Emotional stress and other psychological factors may contribute to the onset and worsening of eczema symptoms. Stress can exacerbate flare-ups by weakening the immune system and disrupting the skin’s barrier function.

Skin barrier dysfunction can result in reduced protein ‘filaggrin’ in the skin, results in elevated sensitivity to irritants and allergens, and increased inflammation. This can contribute to the development or worsening of eczema.

Treating Adult Eczema

There is no permanent cure for eczema, but it can be effectively managed with a proper skincare routine. People with eczema should stay away from skin products that have harsh ingredients. It can make their condition worse.

To reduce the symptoms of eczema, you should create a skincare routine that helps to build the moisture barrier and protect skin from irritants because eczema-prone skin has a weakened moisture barrier. The initial step is to use a gentle eczema shampoo and body wash daily to cleanse your body. Products like Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash is a non-soap cleanser that is hypoallergenic and has a low pH.

After taking a bath, the next step is to pat dry the skin, ensuring you never rub the skin. As it further damages the skin barrier and worsens eczema. It is essential to keep your skin moisturized. It is advised to use a moisturizer at least twice daily. The best time to use an eczema cream is after a bath.

If your condition is severe, it is best to consult a doctor, who may prescribe topical corticosteroids, antihistamines, or a wet wrap therapy to soothe the skin during flare-ups.

Living with eczema can be challenging, but it is feasible to manage it through a proper treatment plan and lifestyle changes.

Living With Eczema As An Adult

Living with eczema as an adult can present several challenges. If you had it as a baby, you wouldn’t have to worry about how to cover it up or what people will think of you. But as an adult, you will have several thoughts that may significantly impact your life.

Itching, inflammation, and dryness are common eczema symptoms that lead to significant physical discomfort. Scratching all the time may interfere with daily tasks and affect sleep. Making you tired and less productive.

Eczema affects a person not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Visible eczema patches may cause self-consciousness, humiliation, and a decline in self-esteem. Adults with eczema may experience social isolation, anxiety, and depression due to the condition. This may also affect your personal relationships.

Eczema can have a significant impact on your social activities, your professional life, and your daily routine. But don’t worry. You can easily manage eczema by maintaining a skincare routine that includes the use of gentle shampoo and body wash, and soothing moisturizers. If your condition is severe, then medications can minimize your symptoms.

Stress And Eczema

The fight or flight response is a physiological response that occurs when we are under stress. Although it was used as a survival strategy in old times, in modern times, the same response is activated by everyday stresses such as work. Stress hormones like cortisol are released during this response. If you experience stress regularly or for extended periods, cortisol suppresses the immune system and increases inflammation. Which can cause or worsen eczema in adults.

People often assume that stress always comes along with someone who leads a hectic life. However, many people with eczema may limit their activities because they don’t want to be seen in public due to their skin condition. Staying at home and feeling miserable about yourself can be very stressful. This may further exacerbate eczema.

You can reduce the effects of stress on eczema and promote healthy skin by adopting stress management practices such as yoga, meditation, regular exercise, and engaging yourself in things you love to do.

Remember, while stress management helps lessen the intensity of eczema flare-ups, it may not be the standalone solution. Following a proper treatment plan and skincare routine is essential to manage eczema.

An Accurate Diagnosis Is Important

An accurate diagnosis of eczema is essential. Other types of eczema, such as contact dermatitis, neurodermatitis, and nummular eczema, have similar symptoms. But each type of eczema may require different treatment. An accurate diagnosis will help you achieve the best treatment plan and identify triggers that might worsen your condition.

It is difficult for an individual to diagnose eczema accurately, so it is advised to consult a healthcare provider. To identify your skin condition, the healthcare provider may ask you about the following:

  • Family history of allergies, asthma, and eczema.
  • Personal health history.
  • Recent stressors.

They will conduct a physical examination; if needed, they may order a skin scraping or a skin biopsy. To distinguish eczema from other skin conditions. A complete diagnosis can help you manage eczema and enhance your quality of life.


In conclusion, Eczema in adults can be a challenging skin condition that may unexpectedly appear in adulthood. It is typically characterized by red, inflamed, itchy, dry skin, which can significantly impact an adult’s daily life, sleep, mood, and personal relationships.

While the exact cause of eczema is not fully understood, it is associated with skin barrier dysfunction, stress, allergens, and genetics. Living with eczema as an adult poses physical discomfort, self-consciousness, and stress can worsen its symptoms.

To effectively manage eczema proper skincare routine must be followed. In severe cases, medical treatment may be necessary.

It is best to use gentle products that are pediatrician and clinically tested, reducing redness, flaking, itching, and irritation associated with eczema. Happy Cappy 3 Step Skincare Routine Bundle to Manage Eczema, is a great option as it complies with pediatric dermatologist recommendations for dry, itchy, irritated, eczema-prone skin.


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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 Adults Develop Eczema Suddenly?

Yes! Adults can develop eczema suddenly even if they never had it before. An individual can have eczema at any age.

Are There Any Complications Associated with Eczema?

Eczema can lead to complications in severe cases, such as skin infection, extreme redness, swelling, pain, and discharge. Continuous scratching can break the skin barrier. It is important to seek medical advice if you notice signs of infection.

Can Stress Trigger Eczema Flare-Ups in Adults?

Yes! stress is a common trigger for eczema flare-ups in adults. Stress can result in the release of certain chemicals in the body that can worsen inflammation.

Can Sudden Eczema in Adults Lead to Psychological Distress?

Sudden eczema can have a significant impact on one’s life. The visible rashes, continuous itching, and irritation can cause stress, frustration, and self-consciousness.

Can Sudden Eczema Be Prevented?

It is not possible to prevent sudden eczema in adults. But with the help of a few tips, you can reduce the likelihood of flare-ups, such as regular moisturizing with an eczema cream and managing stress.


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