Eczema seems to have a mind of its own, coming and going out of nowhere. If you or your child are experiencing a flare-up, one of the first things on your mind may be how long will it last. How long does it take for eczema flare-ups to clear?
It can take anywhere from 1 week to 1 month, or longer, for eczema flare-ups to clear. After it clears, the skin goes into remission, where there is no sign of eczema.
Remission can last several months or years. To treat the flare-up: moisturize, use a corticosteroid cream, use a humidifier, and use wet wrap therapy.
For some children who have this problem, they can expect their symptoms to improve and disappear once they reach 5 to 6 years old. Others, on the other hand, will still encounter flare-ups throughout their entire adolescence and up to early adulthood.
Read on to learn more about how long does it take for an eczema flare-up to clear and how you can make it clear faster!
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How Long Does It Take for Eczema Flare-ups to Clear?
The time it takes for an eczema flare-up to clear is dependent on your age and the kind of eczema you are suffering. It also depends on the treatments you are applying to the flare-up.
Generally, though, mild flare-ups can take around 1 to 2 weeks to clear, where more serious flare-ups can take several months to more than a year to clear.
For those who are still unfamiliar with the condition, eczema causes patches of cracked, itchy, swollen, and inflamed skin. It usually flares up at night, causing discomfort and interrupting or delaying sleep.
It even causes those suffering from it to have a difficult time sleeping at night, significantly affecting the quality of their life.
Flare-ups come and go, often clearing in a couple of weeks or months; however, all eczema symptoms can take several years to clear. Kids with eczema can be expected to have their symptoms disappear once they reach 5 to 6 years of age.
Other kids, however, might experience an improvement in their condition only to restart again once they reach puberty.
The eczema flare-up could have been caused by stress, hormonal changes, or some irritating cosmetic and skincare products introduced to the skin.
Some sufferers can also bring a specific level of eczema up to their adulthood characterized by some skin areas with a scaly and dry look and some parts experiencing itchiness.
If you or your child has a difficult time falling asleep at night because of the eczema flare-up, then certain medications, medicated baths, wet wraps, and other techniques for treating it can help.
It also helps to understand the specific stage of eczema you are in and the type you are suffering from, as this can give you an idea about the duration of each flare-up and how you can quickly treat it.
Factors and Triggers That Might Cause Eczema Flare-Ups
Because it can take months for an eczema flare-up to clear, it is crucial to watch out for certain triggers and any factor that might cause it to last longer than usual.
This is important so you can prevent them as much as possible and do something to at least lessen the duration of each flare-up. Among the factors and triggers to watch out for are:
Skin Dryness – Excessive dryness in your skin might cause it to become scaly, tight, rough, or brittle. If left unmanaged, the dryness might cause an eczema flare-up to take place and will take a longer time for the flare-up to clear.
This is the main reason why eczema sufferers are advised to moisturize their skin all the time. Just make sure that you pick a moisturizer that is good at hydrating your skin and controlling eczema symptoms.
In most cases, moisturizers for dry skin are classified depending on their water and oil content. If you want to treat eczema flare-up, then it would be best to go for a moisturizer with higher oil content.
The best ones are those that tend to feel greasy, like creams and ointments, due to their high oil content. A high amount of oil makes the moisturizer effective in retaining moisture and blocking irritants.
Skin Irritants – Some products that you use every day might also irritate your skin, causing them to get dry, red, or itchy. Some of these are irritants that might trigger a flare-up.
Among the products that might cause an eczema flare-up to last longer are your dish or hand soap, shampoo, body and bubble bath wash, disinfectants, surface cleaners, and laundry detergents.
There are even natural liquids, such as juices from fresh meat, fruits, and veggies, that can trigger skin irritation upon contact with them.
This is the main reason why you have to be extra careful with the products you use, especially if your skin comes in contact with them. Find out whether your flare-up tends to get worse with your exposure to it.
Stress – Another factor that might cause your eczema to last longer than usual is stress (emotional stress, to be very exact). Being in a stressful situation might cause some people to experience worsened eczema symptoms.
Some even feel even more stressed upon being diagnosed with having eczema, which can further worsen the duration of the flare-up.
Infection – An eczema flare-up might also last longer because of an infection caused by viruses and bacteria thriving in your environment.
Among the common triggers of infected eczema are staphylococcus aureus or staph, herpes virus, molluscum virus, and specific types of fungus, like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
You have to be aware of the symptoms of various infections and their individual causes so you can prevent your eczema flare-up from worsening.
Hormones – Hormonal changes might also cause the flare-up to worsen and take longer to clear. Hormones refer to substances produced by your body that, when they become out of balance, can trigger various symptoms.
Each time your hormones levels fluctuate – go up or down – you will be at risk of experiencing longer eczema flare-ups.
Learning the potential triggers of eczema flare-ups can help keep the condition’s symptoms under control and shorten the amount of time it affects you. It can also help you feel comfortable even with eczema.
See the below video for more tips and insight on how to control eczema flare-ups and avoid them altogether:
How to Make Eczema Flare-ups Clear Faster?
Once you or your child are exposed to any of the triggers, expect flare-ups to appear after some time. The good news is that there are a few things you can try to make the eczema flare-up clear faster or shorten the duration of them.
Moisturize – When it comes to treating eczema flare-ups and making them clear faster, your goal should be to prevent and relieve itching that might result in infection. The condition might cause your skin to become itchy and dry, so it is advisable to apply creams and lotions to moisturize your skin.
Apply the moisturizer when your skin is still damp, like after taking a bath, to retain moisture. When trying to find a good moisturizer, it would be best to use one that is lightweight and contains other vitamins that can heal the skin faster.
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Use a humidifier – Your home’s heating system might pump too much hot air inside that might irritate skin prone to eczema flare-ups. A humidifier is a great way to fight the dry heat. The humidifier adds moisture to the air, which helps keep your skin hydrated, and more hydrated skin means the flare-ups won’t last as long or occur at all.
You can now find portable humidifiers online that have a variety of features and settings. Just make sure to give your humidifier proper care and maintenance to prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria.
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Apply a corticosteroid cream – A corticosteroid cream is an effective solution for almost all kinds and stages of eczema. This cream might be prescribed by your doctor to make the eczema flare-up clear faster.
It would be best to apply the cream after taking a bath or before sleeping at night.
You can choose to put some of this cream at night then wear cotton gloves to ensure that it stays on your hands. Through regular application, the cream will be able to reduce the flare-ups significantly within three weeks or so.
Remember to follow the instructions of the doctor. The doctor will advise how long to use the cream. It should only be used temporarily, not long-term, as it can thin out the skin.
A mild 0.5% or 1% steroid cream can be used first to clear the eczema flare-up. If it still hasn’t cleared, a stronger steroid cream may be prescribed.
Take advantage of wet wrap therapy – This is a big help, especially if your eczema-prone skin gets too dry at night. What you should do is to get a damp cloth then wrap it around the affected parts of your body after applying a moisturizer. Leave the wrap overnight to hydrate your skin.
Apart from the mentioned tips, it also helps to stay away from irritants and allergens as much as possible. Make sure to care for your skin by using non-soap cleansers or mild soap and wearing soft fabrics and cotton.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes and scratchy and rough fibers as such might only aggravate the condition and lengthen the duration of the flare-up.
So how long does it take for eczema flare-ups to clear? It can take anywhere from a week to a month or longer for the flare-up to clear. Once it clears, you still have to be careful as your skin goes into remission. Remission has no signs of eczema, but it can flare up again if irritated.
To make eczema flare-ups clear faster and to prevent flare-ups during the remission period, follow these treatments:
- Use a corticosteroid cream
- Use a humidifier
- Use wet wrap therapy
You can apply some medical treatments and home remedies and avoid irritants, too. By applying these tips, you will shorten the duration and severity of the flare-up so that it clears faster. You’ll also reduce the chance of it flaring up again.