Can You Develop Eczema Later in Life?

May 11, 2023
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Eczema is usually thought of as a childhood condition, but is it possible to develop it as an adult? We answer that question and more here.

We often think of eczema as a condition that affects kids. However, adults can have it, especially older adults. In many cases, people have eczema as a child, it tapers off in adolescence and then returns in full force as an adult. But in other cases, people don’t have it in childhood, and it appears suddenly in adulthood. 

Studies have shown that 1 in 4 adults who have eczema reported their first symptoms in adulthood. While the exact reason for eczema developing in adulthood is unknown, the most likely cause is that our skin starts to dry out as we age, increasing the risk of eczema symptoms.

If you’ve recently started showing symptoms of eczema as an adult, you may wonder if it is eczema or something else. At Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street in Washington, DC, our expert team wants to help you identify eczema and know how to treat it.

Symptoms of eczema in adults

Eczema in adults differs from eczema in children. However, there is some overlap in symptoms, which include the following:

  • Intense itching that can cause sleeplessness
  • Skin infections
  • Increased risk of asthma or allergies
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety

Other symptoms that are typically not seen in children but are in adults include:

  • Permanently itchy rashes
  • Rashes that appear on the nape of the neck and crooks of elbows
  • Rashes that cover the majority of your body
  • Scaly and dry skin patches

If your eczema is left untreated, your quality of life can deteriorate.

Treatment options for eczema

Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. However, there are many options for treating and managing this skin condition. If our team determines you have eczema, we can recommend the best treatments depending on your age, symptoms, and current health status. 

One of the best treatments you can do at home is to use good skin products and take excellent care of your skin. This is true regardless of how severe your symptoms are or where your eczema is. You can do this by using hypoallergenic soaps, applying moisturizers regularly, and taking short baths or showers. 

Some other treatments include:

  • Skin creams to relieve itching
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Light therapy for flare-ups

Our team can also help you to identify what’s triggering your eczema flare-ups. Common triggers include stress or certain types of allergens, often in foods. Once we’ve identified your triggers, we can develop a plan to help you avoid those triggers and limit your eczema flare-ups.

If you suspect you have eczema as an adult, don’t wait to have your symptoms diagnosed, treated, and managed. To schedule an appointment, contact our expert at our Washington, DC office today. You can do this by giving us a call at 202-955-6995 or by using our online booking tool today.