Symptoms of Eczema on the Face

Eczema can occur on any part of the body, including the face. With the skin on the face being so sensitive, even a small amount of eczema can make someone feel itchy or uncomfortable.

Eczema on the face can be an isolated rash, or it can be a part of generalized eczema. The rash can last for only a few days, or it can be a chronic condition that lasts a lifetime.

This article will cover the symptoms of eczema on the face, its complications, and when to see a healthcare provider.

eczema on face

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Frequent Symptoms

Three types of eczema commonly occur on the face: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms will vary from person to person but generally include the following:

  • Redness
  • Dry, flaky skin (flakes can be yellow in people with seborrheic dermatitis)
  • Rough, scaly skin patches
  • Itching
  • Crusted blisters that can weep or ooze
  • Dryness that can crack open

The skin around the eyes can also be affected by eczema. When the eye area is frequently rubbed, it can cause the skin to look wrinkled. Dennie-Morgan lines, creases of skin under the eyes, can be found in people with atopic dermatitis. These lines are associated with the condition.

Rare Symptoms

Eczema on the face is usually a straightforward rash that follows similar patterns in most people. However, when the condition becomes severe, there are a few rare symptoms to be aware of.

With chronic eczema, you can develop thickened skin that causes further itching. It's common to find this on the neck, hands, ankles, and feet.

Another rare symptom of atopic dermatitis is the lightening of the skin, called hypopigmentation. Hypopigmented areas are typically found on skin that receives frequent sun exposure, like the face.

Complications

Eczema causes itching. When this happens on or around the eye, there is a risk of developing keratoconus, an eye condition that causes the cornea to change its shape and become thinner. It tends to start around puberty and continues into the 30s. If left untreated, it can cause vision changes or vision loss.

Another complication of eczema is infection. According to the National Institute of Health, 60% to 90% of people with atopic dermatitis may have Staphylococcus aureus on their skin. When someone scratches their skin and causes an open wound, they are at an increased risk of developing an infection. Repeated touching of the area to rub or scratch it can also introduce germs.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Eczema can usually be managed at home. However, there are times when it is best to contact a healthcare provider. Contact a healthcare provider if:

  • You have a new case of eczema.
  • The eczema on your face does not get better with treatment.
  • Your skin appears to be infected.
  • You experience changes in your vision.

Eczema on the face can appear for a few days or can last for a long time. If the eczema is new or is not improving, it's time to contact a healthcare provider. A healthcare provider will determine the cause of the rash.

When someone has eczema, they are at a greater risk for an infection. The healthcare provider may want to see the infection and test it to determine if it is a bacterial, viral, or fungal. Determining the cause of the infection will guide the healthcare provider's treatment.

Anytime you experience a change in eyesight, contact a healthcare provider. There could be changes in the cornea from keratoconus.

Summary

Eczema on the face is an uncomfortable, itchy rash. It can cause dry, flaky skin with areas of crusted blisters. Some people will have eczema their whole life, whereas others may only experience it for a few days. When eczema on the face is new or is not getting better, it's time to contact a healthcare provider for a proper treatment plan.

A Word From Verywell

Facial eczema can cause you to have extremely dry skin, oozing blisters, and scaly patches. It can be distressing when you see these changes to your face. Contact your healthcare provider to help identify the cause. Determining the cause can alter the treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is eczema common?

    Eczema is very common. One in 10 people will have eczema at some point in their life. It tends to be more common in infants and children than in adults.

  • How is eczema on the face treated?

    There is no cure for eczema, but there are many treatment options. Keeping your skin moisturized, avoiding long, hot showers, and staying away from products with fragrance are steps you can take at home. A healthcare provider can prescribe medications and creams that have been shown to successfully treat eczema.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Eczema Society. Facial eczema.

  2. Rady Children's Hospital. Dermatology.

  3. Pietruszyńska M, Zawadzka-Krajewska A, Duda P, Rogowska M, Grabska-Liberek I, Kulus M. Ophthalmic manifestations of atopic dermatitisPostepy Dermatol Alergol. 2020;37(2):174-179. doi:10.5114/ada.2018.79445

  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eczema (atopic dermatitis) complications.

  5. National Eczema Association. Eczema stats.

By Patty Weasler, RN, BSN
Patty is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in pediatric critical care. Her passion is writing health and wellness content that anyone can understand and use.