What is eczema?

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition affecting one in three Australasians at some stage throughout their lives.


What causes eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, however, can be linked to the following internal and external triggers:


  • A family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever (the strongest predictor): if both parents have eczema, there is an up to 80 per cent chance their children may also develop eczema

  • Some foods and alcohol: dairy and wheat products, citrus fruits, eggs, nuts, seafood, chemical food additives, preservatives and colourings

  • Stress


  • Irritants: tobacco smoke, chemicals, weather (hot and humid or cold and dry conditions) and air conditioning or overheating

  • Allergens: house dust mites, moulds, grasses, plant pollens, foods, pets and clothing, soaps, shampoos and washing


What are the symptoms?

  • Moderate-to-severe itching skin

  • A rash – dry, red, patchy or cracked skin

  • Skin weeping watery fluid

  • Rough or “leathery” thick skin

What are the treatment options?

The goal of treating eczema is to heal the skin and prevent or minimise flare-ups. This can be done by using a moisturiser that prevents skin from cracking, itching and offers relief. Moisturised skin also helps block out germs that cause infections. From time to time you may need to use a topical steroid treatment to help manage an eczema flare-up.


Eczema in Winter

  • Skip hot baths because heat can cause your skin to dry out

  • Use a gentle soap free wash to ensure you don’t irritate or dry out your skin

  • Change to a thick moisturising cream or ointment as lotions may not be as effective in treating winter eczema

  • Avoid contact with certain materials such as wool and nylon as they can irritate eczema

  • Try a humidifier to combat the dry heat and add moisture back into the air

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated


Eczema Tips

If you are an asthma or hay fever sufferer, make sure you are using your preventative medicines as prescribed

  • Practice good hygiene and your wash hands thoroughly with soap free wash

  • Take a daily probiotic to boost your immune system

  • Ensure you have enough prescription medication in case you need to self-isolate

  • Don’t panic! Visit your health professional if you have any concerns    


This information is provided by The Eczema Association of Australasia INC

The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc (EAA), is a national, non-profit charity organisation serving eczema sufferers for more than 25 years. The EAA is a valuable source of knowledge and advice on a wide range of issues associated with the management and treatment of eczema.


For more information:

  • Contact 1300 300 182 or email help@eczema.org.au.

  • Visit The Eczema Association of Australasia Inc (EAA), website here 

  • Chat to your friendly Ramsay Pharmacist for assistance, find your closest store here