Rubbing cream onto eczema sufferer's hand

What can I do about eczema on my face?

Eczema is most common in areas with a low ‘skin barrier reserve’ (areas with more vulnerable skin) which is why many people suffer from eczema around their face and neck. [1] As eczema sufferers know, flare-ups or chronic eczema around the face can be very difficult, both physically and emotionally.

Man with a skin irritation on his face

There are a number of treatments that your healthcare professional can recommend if you facial eczema is affecting your life. These range from topical creams such as corticosteroid creams or ointments to oral treatments to help control inflammation or itch, or even alternative treatments such as light therapy. [2] Whether you chose to take part in any of these treatments is up to you, however there are still things you can do in your everyday life to help manage your facial eczema.

Skin care regime

As you’re certainly aware, dry skin is one of the main symptoms of eczema. When your skin is dry, the skin barrier isn’t as strong which means that you lose moisture more quickly and are more prone to inflammation and infection. [3] Therefore, moisturising your skin is key to helping your eczema.

Emollients, a family of moisturising treatment that help reduce water loss and protect the skin, can be used multiple times a day (follow the manufacturer’s or your healthcare professional’s recommendations) to help keep your skin moisturised, ideally right after washing when the skin is moist. There are many different types of emollients, from soap replacements to ointments, and they can contain a range of active ingredients. You may find you prefer a routine with different emollients at different times in the day, e.g. a heavier ointment in the evening and a lighter cream in the day. [4]

Other skin care tips

Woman washing her face
  • Try to avoid touching your face too much as this can spread infection and irritate the skin
  • Keep your hair clean, as unclear hair resting on your face can aggravate skin
  • As the skin on the face is more exposed to the elements, you may find you have to be flexible in your routine to accommodate for changes in temperature or moisture levels
  • If using products from a tub rather than a tube, use a clean spoon to remove the product rather than your fingers or hands
  • Always pat, rather than rub, your skin dry
  • When washing, use warm (not hot) water

Makeup [5]

If you wear makeup regularly, you’ll likely have noticed that many different products can aggravate your eczema rather than helping to cover it up. It may take some trial and error to find the products that are best for you as preferences well vary from person to person and skin to skin, but here are some things to watch out for. It’s recommended to always test a product for any reaction or irritation before you apply it regularly.

  • Try to stick to makeup that’s hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, nonacnegenic and designed for sensitive skin
  • Fragrances often cause irritation, look for products that are fragrance-free rather than unscented as unscented products may still contain fragrances
  • Many people react to preservatives in products
  • Remember to dispose of your makeup according to the manufacturer’s recommendations – eye makeup in particular should be replaced every three to four months as eyes are particularly sensitive
  • Using water based or water soluble makeup makes it easier to remove your makeup at the end of the day and therefore less irritating for your skin
  • Make sure you always wash your hands before applying makeup, and wash your makeup brushes regularly

Eczema on your baby’s face

Affecting up to 20% of children in most areas around the world, eczema is one of the most common skin conditions. [6] In babies, eczema is most likely to occur on the face or scalp, aggravated by factors such as drooling, heat in the summer or cold in winter, allergies or coming into contact with irritants like soaps or some fabrics. Many of the same recommendations that apply to adults apply to babies with eczema, including regular bathing in warm water, and application of moisturisers or emollients. [7] However, as your baby’s skin is particularly delicate, we recommend visiting a healthcare professional who can recommend the best steps to take for you and your baby.

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