How Long Does Eczema Last?

Flares last for about two weeks but can be much longer

Eczema is characterized by periods of intense symptoms (known as flare-ups), and periods of lesser or no symptoms (called remission). Eczema flares can last for two weeks or more, depending on what's causing the flare. Identifying the cause of the flare and treating it promptly can help get you to remission more quickly. Unfortunately, there's no cure for eczema, but its symptoms can be managed.

This article will explain how long eczema lasts, its flares and remission, and how some people outgrow eczema. 

Man applying lotion to arm

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Factors That Determine How Long Eczema Lasts 

Eczema is caused by genetic and environmental factors. If you have the condition, you likely have a genetic predisposition for it. When you’re exposed to eczema triggers, you’ll likely experience a flare-up. Once a flare-up begins, it lasts for an average of 15 days.

However, your flare-up could be longer or shorter than that depending on what treatment you use and whether you are able to identify and avoid your triggers. The sooner you are able to both treat your flare and identify its trigger, the sooner you’ll begin to heal. 

Does Baby Eczema Go Away?

Up to 80% of people who have eczema as children outgrow the condition by adulthood.

Eczema Flare-Up Triggers

Flare-ups are often linked to eczema triggers. Scientists are still working to understand why certain things trigger eczema symptoms, but it appears that people with eczema have an overactive immune system.

In order to reduce how long eczema lasts, you will need to identify your triggers. Triggers can include:

  • Environmental causes, like pet dander
  • Substances that touch your skin, like certain soaps, body products, and fabrics
  • Mental/emotional conditions, including stress
  • Illness or viruses like COVID-19 or a cold

Other common triggers for eczema flare-ups include:

  • Weather extremes, including heat and cold
  • Altitude changes
  • Stress
  • Recent illness
  • Chemicals, including those found in body products and lotions
  • Certain foods
  • Environmental irritants like smoke and pet dander 
  • Fabrics and materials including latex, wool, and polyester

In addition to your triggers, how well your body responds to treatment will also determine how long your flares last. For example, if your symptoms usually clear up after using steroid cream, you're less likely to have a long-lasting flare than someone who doesn't respond to treatment.

Staying Ahead of Eczema 

Keeping a symptom journal can help you identify your triggers. Write down any new products you’re using, new foods you’ve tried, or new clothing or other materials you’ve come into contact with. Then, you can reflect on what has recently changed when symptoms appear. 

In addition, following these steps can help limit your exposure to triggers:

Eczema Stages

Although knowing what triggers your eczema is a first step toward getting eczema to go away, the results won’t be immediate. You’re likely to move through several eczema healing stages.

During Healing

To understand how eczema resolves, it’s helpful to understand the stages of eczema. When you’re experiencing a flare-up, you’re in the acute phase. This is characterized by bumps, redness, itchiness and irritation, with or without a rash. 

Next comes the subacute stage, where symptoms are slightly less severe. This stage is characterized by flaking skin, itchiness, pain, and other symptoms. 

Although there’s a recognized progression through these stages, that’s not always how eczema behaves. Sometimes, you can move from the subacute back to the acute stage, or begin having symptoms at the subacute stage. 

Chronic Eczema

If your flare-ups last for three months or longer, you may have chronic eczema. This stage is characterized by long-lasting symptoms which may be severe and often include:

  • Cracks in the skin
  • Discoloration, thickening skin; leather-like or dull skin appearance
  • Larger areas of symptoms

How to Find the Right Treatment Combination 

There are many treatments for eczema. It may take some trial and error to find the one that works best for you. When you’re trying a new therapy, keep a diary of how your symptoms respond. This can provide valuable information to you and your healthcare provider as you move forward with treatment options. 

Treatments for eczema can include:

  • Lifestyle adjustments, like regularly moisturizing and avoiding triggers
  • Over-the-counter products, such as moisturizers and steroid creams like hydrocortisone cream
  • Prescription medications, including steroids, immunosuppressants, calcineurin inhibitors, biologics, antibiotics and JAK (Janus kinase) inhibitors
  • Procedures that include phototherapy (light therapy), laser treatment, and wet wrap therapy


Eczema is characterized by flare-ups, or times of intense symptoms. These flare-ups usually last for about two weeks, but they can be longer or shorter. Identifying the cause, or trigger, of your flare-up and following your treatment regimen is essential to getting relief from your symptoms.

A Word From Verywell

Eczema symptoms can be unbearable for kids and adults alike. Limiting your exposure to triggers and promptly treating flare-ups may help reduce the length of your symptoms. When you experience a flare-up, call your healthcare provider for treatment advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does eczema disappear if it’s untreated?

    Eczema may resolve on its own if it's untreated. However, treatments like daily moisturizing and applying over-the-counter or prescription steroid cream can help make you more comfortable. They might also cause your symptoms to clear more quickly. 

  • Can you speed up eczema recovery?

    Avoiding triggers and following your treatment regime is the best way to clear eczema quickly. On average, flares resolve within two weeks. In addition, your healthcare provider may have tips for you specifically on managing triggers and speeding up recovery. 

  • Is eczema contagious by touch?

    No, eczema is not contagious. Eczema is caused by both genetic and environmental factors, however. So, you may notice that multiple people in your household—who may share the same genetics and environment—experience symptoms at the same time. 

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. Abuabara, Katrina, David J Margolis, and Sinéad M Langan. The long-term course of atopic dermatitis. Dermatologic Clinics.  2017 doi: 10.1016/j.det.2017.02.003.

  2. National Eczema Association. Eczema causes and triggers.

  3. National Eczema Association. Eczema stats.

  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Eczema (atopic dermatitis) causes & strategies for prevention.

  5. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Eczema.

By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.