Eczema is itchy — plain and simple. Your skin dries out, and it might even crack, flake, scale, or do any number of irritating and uncomfortable things. Plus, if you keep scratching it and don’t seek treatment, you could make it weep. Ugh.
Weeping doesn’t mean your skin will react like it just watched “The Notebook.” Cracked, open skin can play host to infections that can make your skin blister, ooze, and crust. Welcome to weeping eczema. Your day just got a whole lot more painful and unsightly. Great.
Before you and your eczema start crying together, read on to get the 411 on all things weeping eczema.
Weeping eczema appears on the infected areas as inflamed, red or purple sores and blisters that ooze and weep pus. When the pus dries, it leaves behind a yellow crusty layer on your skin. So, no. Not your average Disney sh*t.
Weeping eczema may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
- skin that’s exceptionally itchy, sore, or discolored as eczema worsens
- red, purple, or discolored pus or water-filled blisters
- cracked or blistered skin that weeps or oozes a yellowish liquid or pus
- dry, cracked skin that has crusted over
- tiny red or discolored dots, spots, or bumps in areas near body hair
- swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin
- fever, fatigue, and possibly other cold or flu-like symptoms
Weeping eczema can develop on any part of your body that shows the signs of eczema. It may be super severe or bothersome when it shows up on more sensitive areas like your face, hands, or feet. Because ow.
Here’s a pic of weeping eczema to show you how it can look and help you spot it in your own life.
Occasionally, eczema becomes so severe that it cracks. In other instances, it may be so itchy that you scratch or rub it until it breaks or becomes an open wound.
This creates the potential for bacteria and infection to enter. People with eczema face an increased risk of bacterial and viral infections.
Staphylococcus aureus (staph to its friends) is a type of bacteria that causes infections in eczema-affected skin. It’s the most common culprit for weeping eczema. Staph spreads quickly, so when your skin barrier breaks and becomes vulnerable, staph quickly infiltrates and infects. Thanks, staph, you asshole.
About 90 percent of those with eczema who then experience weeping eczema have staph to blame.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) is a viral infection that often finds its way into open breaks on eczema-affected skin. HSV1 is the same virus that causes cold sores.
When it infects eczema, it takes on the name eczema herpeticum, which sounds more like a Harry Potter spell than it should, given how nasty it is. Without treatment, the virus can cause severe complications like meningitis, encephalitis, or sepsis.
Other prominent infectious causes of weeping eczema include variants of hand, foot, and mouth disease and poxviruses.
Treatment for weeping eczema depends on the type of infectious agent that’s penetrated your skin.
Your doc will likely perform a culture test to examine the ooze for the type of bacteria, virus, or fungus. They’ll then perform a physical examination or maybe a biopsy to determine what’s cracking — or weeping, more accurately. Based on the diagnosis, they’ll prescribe the best course of treatment.
Treatment for bacterial weeping eczema
In the case of a bacterial infection like staph, a doctor prescribes antibiotics. Certain types of penicillin are effective at treating staph-induced weeping eczema. The antibiotics may be topical or oral, and your doctor may prescribe them alongside a steroid medication.
Aside from pharmaceuticals, diluted bleach baths may help your skin feel a little relief.
Treatment for viral weeping eczema
If you’ve got a viral infection that’s causing weeping eczema, you may need antiviral therapy in the form of oral medication. However, depending on the severity of the condition, doctors may opt to administer your antiviral drugs intravenously.
Treatment for fungal weeping eczema
Antifungal creams or ointments are also helpful in treating weeping eczema when it stems from a fungal infection like ringworm.
Home remedies can help soothe the symptoms of weeping eczema. Because weeping eczema is an infection, however, the only thing that will resolve it completely is a prescription medicine.
You can integrate these home remedies into your prescription treatment routine to help relieve unpleasant side effects and assist the healing process.
- Natural oils. Sunflower seed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil both produce anti-inflammatory and skin barrier restoring effects.
- Vitamin and fatty acids supplementation. Vitamin D and vitamin B12 supplementation may significantly improve your eczema. Fatty acids like evening primrose, black currant seed, and barrage oil also show some promise as treatments for eczema symptoms.
- Probiotics. Oral supplements and topical probiotics may help prevent and improve severe eczema.
- Herbal medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has long used herbal remedies. They may help with eczema severity, itchiness, and boost your quality of life.
- Wet wraps. This process involves applying a topical medication or ointment to a cloth or gauze and wrapping it around the affected area. They increase the amount of water in your skin, enhance your skin barrier, and can even repair skin damage associated with scratching.
You can use home remedies as part of a treatment plan for weeping eczema. Be sure to discuss any home medicine plans you have with your doctor to rule out the possibility of any adverse reactions.
Weeping eczema is no joke and certainly nothing to make light of. Ominous as it may be, you can treat it and see it on its way. Early detection and prompt treatment are the keys to successfully eliminating the infection behind your weeping eczema.
Once you’ve had some medical attention to stop the infection, weeping eczema should clear right up in 7 to 14 days, depending on the severity of the outbreak. More severe cases may leave behind scarring.
Untreated weeping eczema is serious and can lead to other, severe infections. If you suspect that you have a case of weeping eczema, don’t delay seeking medical attention.
Sometimes, you can’t prevent eczema. Certain skin types are just more prone to dry skin and the conditions that stem from it, like eczema.
However, eczema doesn’t have to deteriorate to the extent that it becomes infected and starts weeping. Preventing weeping eczema is all about disciplined skin care and careful eczema management.
Here are some ways to do that.
- Use soothing and moisturizing creams and ointments (emollients) twice a day.
- Choose soaps, shampoos, and cleansers that are free from dyes and perfumes.
- Apply steroid creams, or pimecrolimus or tacrolimus creams if steroids aren’t an option.
- Stop the itch with antihistamines. These may relieve itching, which reduces the risk of skin breaks and subsequent infection.
- Combine soothing oils and herbal or dietary supplements into your routine along with other treatments.
- Check out some psychological interventions that can help you cope with stress.
- Practice relaxation techniques that may help stop you from scratching.
If you’re doing all the above and your eczema is still getting worse, talk with your doctor about more aggressive measures to prevent the onset of weeping eczema.
Weeping eczema occurs when typical eczema becomes infected. The infection causes blisters that weep and ooze yellow pus that then dries and crusts.
You must treat weeping eczema aggressively because it can progress to more serious infections. Seek medical attention right away if you suspect you’ve got a case of weeping eczema. It’s better to be safe than sorry.