As well as the physical symptoms that eczema causes like being itchy and painful, it can have an impact on lots of other parts of your life. Living with the symptoms of eczema, and having to work hard to manage it, can affect how you feelwhat you do, and relationships with other people. For example, eczema can cause low mood, anxiety, appearance worries, and sleep issues, to name a few.  

Mental health can be affected and the way you look may make you want to avoid family and friends and even stop hobbies like swimming and gymnastics.

The good news is that there are lots of things that have been shown to help people cope with the challenges that come from having eczema.

Graphic of a child and mental health quote
Graphic with child and mental health quote

Our well being resources

EOS have created a resource to help build confidence and deal with worries and anxiety. 

Our well being resources were made by Dr Ella Guest, a Senior Research Fellow and Chartered Psychologist based at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.  

They include videos about the impact eczema can have on different aspects of our lives and worksheets that help you develop skills to cope with the challenges children and young people with eczema can face. 

Find out more
Graphic of list with 'Annual report' Text

Silvia, a member of EOS Youth Panel shares her story about eczema and the toll it had on her mental health

Dealing with eczema as a young person can have a huge impact on mental health.

Its common for children and young people to feel frustrated, deflated and alone when dealing with eczema and navigating the path to adulthood.
EOS youth panel member Silvia struggled with her mental health throughout her teenage years and said her skin was the root of many of her difficulties.
Silvia, now 24, developed eczema as an infant and in her adolescence had the worst skin of her life. It would weep and scab and she was covered from head to toe.
Silvia said: “I was about 13 when my eczema got really, really bad and I was covered from head to toe. It was incredibly painful and completely debilitated me, some days even walking or raising my arms was painful and I couldn’t do anything.”
“To go from relatively healthy to be in constant pain had a huge impact on my mental health. I would stress that my skin was bad, which would make my skin worse as stress is a trigger for me, which would make me stress more. It was a vicious cycle and I felt totally helpless.”
“Going through adolescence is difficult for most people but to be also dealing with a condition that makes you look different and be in incredible amounts of pain makes everything so much worse. Every day I would wake up and not know if my skin would be weeping and sore or if I would be able to move freely.”
Silvia wasn’t referred to dermatology until she was in her late teens and as a result wasn’t prescribed adequate treatments for a long time. Because of this, her skin was rarely under control and she missed a lot of school because of her eczema, something her teachers didn’t understand.
“Eczema is so misunderstood, lots of people think it is this mild condition and my school was not understanding at all. They questioned why eczema would cause me to miss class or need to leave early to go to hospital for treatment when I was eventually prescribed phototherapy. They were very much under the impression that I was exaggerating and they even tried to stop me from being able to attend hospital for my phototherapy.”
“When enough people tell you eczema isn’t a big deal, you start to question yourself. I would think, am I exaggerating? Is this in my head? It all messes with your mental health.”
Silvia had sessions with a counsellor who helped her process her feelings and she recommended a referral for dermatology as her mental health was being so negatively impacted by her skin.

Eventually Silvia was referred to a dermatologist who also told her about EOS. She was too old by this point to become a member but she went to an event and later was a founding member of the youth panel.

“I wish I had known about EOS as a child and teenager and been able to meet other people experiencing similar and be able to share experiences and struggles. I know the High 5 Club do regular meet ups and that would have been amazing for me, to see other children with eczema and just feel less alone. The isolation and feeling like the only person with severe eczema was really hard.”
“Talking about your feelings is so important, whether that is a friend, family member or a healthcare professional. You aren’t alone, there are other people going through similar and there are people that want to help.”

Silvia’s top tips for parents and carers to help the mental health of their child.


Educate yourself
Educate yourself on eczema, the treatments available and how the condition can feel.
This can make a huge difference to a young person and make them feel heard.
Sometimes just providing a sympathetic ear can be enough to help when having a bad day.
Advocate for your child. 
Whether that is with the GP, teachers, dermatologists or family. Make sure everyone is doing what they can to make life easier for your child. That could be speaking to teachers to make sure they understand sometimes PE won’t be possible with a flare or family members to not say hurtful comments.
Ask for all the help you can access
Some skin clinics offer counselling or sessions with a psychiatrist. You may not know about these if you don’t let your healthcare practitioner know your child is struggling with their mental health.


Brush off concerns. 
Living with eczema every single day is a lot to deal with and should be taken seriously.
Push them to do things they say they can’t do
If your child says they can’t do something because of their skin, listen to them. Having painful, itching skin every day impacts young people in every way and some days activities like sport won’t be possible.
Take to social media
When you are at your wits end, you could turn to social media to ask for help but this could cause more problems. Silvia said: “I think a lot of parents out of desperation from seeing their child in pain turn to social media for treatment advice which is often rubbish and I’d even go as far as saying dangerous in some cases.
“I’ve seen a lot of ‘influencers’ saying things like ‘I stopped using all my creams and now my eczema has completely disappeared!’ Or advocating for really strange and untested ‘treatment plans’. I think it’s good to keep in mind that anyone can be an ‘influencer’ now and give advice on things that they have no experience of.”

If your child is struggling with their appearance, Changing Faces can help.

They are a UK charity for people with a visible difference on their face, hands or body and offer support including counselling. Their services can be accessed here.