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What Is The Correlation Between Obesity and Eczema?

Alexander Singh
June 6, 2022

Eczema is a prevalent chronic autoimmune skin condition with a high patient and population burden. It presently affects 20% of children and 10% of adults in the developed world. It is characterized by itching and skin inflammation, which are indicators of the underlying malfunction of the epidermal barrier and the skin's immune system.

Several observational epidemiological studies have suggested an association between eczema and obesity. According to a recent meta-analysis, people who were obese had 1.5 times higher odds of having eczema. The growing global burden of obesity and the rising AD frequency are closely related.

What Are The Types Of Eczema?

Eczema refers to a series of illnesses that induce skin inflammation, swelling, discoloration, dryness, and itching. In the United States, eczema impacts almost 32 million people, or about 10% of the population, while some types are more prevalent than others. You can experience more than one type of eczema at once; each type has a unique set of symptoms and a unique treatment regimen. Patients with more prevalent eczema kinds might experience the following:

  • Leathery or thick skin
  • Ooziness or leaking fluid from the skin
  • Itchy and dry patches on the skin
  • Rashy or discolored skin
  • Scaly or crusted skin

Following are the basic types of eczema: 

Atopic Dermatitis

The most prevalent type of eczema, atopic dermatitis (AD), affects over 26 million Americans yearly. It is a chronic disorder that frequently starts in infancy. AD can occur on its own, or in combination with other eczema types. As they age, some persons with this eczema have fewer symptom flare-ups. Some people experience symptoms that come and go throughout their lifespan.

Dyshidrotic Eczema

One more typical eczema is dyshidrosis, also called dyshidrotic eczema. It mostly affects adults between 20 and 40, and it frequently affects people who already have seasonal allergies or other forms of eczema.

Contact Dermatitis

When a chemical or material that produces a rash comes into direct touch with a patient's skin, the patient develops symptoms of contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is not linked to hay fever or seasonal allergens like other types of eczema do. Additionally, scientists don't think that a person's genetic makeup makes them more likely to develop contact dermatitis than another person.

Discoid Eczema

A chronic skin disorder known as discoid or nummular eczema is characterized by round or coin-shaped patches of irritated or blistered skin. These areas will seem red on those with fair skin. Darker skin tones may instead generate brown or pale spots. Discoid eczema can occasionally be confused with other skin conditions, such as ringworm, psoriasis, or fungal growth. Men are more likely to get discoid eczema, which tends to worsen during the winter months. It can present alone or in conjunction with other eczema kinds.


Up to 12% of the world suffers from neurodermatitis, a prevalent illness. Chronic itching is frequently the first symptom, usually appearing when a patient is going through a trying or emotional time. Neurodermatitis is a type of eczema that only affects one or two areas of the skin at a time, unlike other types that affect various body parts.

Seborrheic Dermatitis 

A typical kind of eczema known as seborrheic dermatitis affects parts of the skin that produce oil, such as the scalp, nose, and upper back. It is sometimes referred to as seborrheic eczema in adults. The condition is referred to as cradle cap in infants.

Stasis Dermatitis 

Patients who have inadequate leg blood flow or circulation develop stasis dermatitis. Sometimes veins cannot effectively pump blood out of the legs and back toward the heart because of old age or another medical problem. Stasis dermatitis, also known as gravity dermatitis, varicose eczema, or venous eczema, is common in older adults. 

What is Atopic Dermatitis? 

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a disorder that results in dry, itchy, and inflammatory skin. Although it can happen to anyone, it is more frequent in young children. Atopic dermatitis is persistent (chronic) and occasionally flares up. Although it is not contagious, it can be unpleasant. 

Atopic dermatitis patients risk acquiring asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. Regular moisturizing and other skin care practices help reduce itching and stop future outbreaks (flares). Medicated lotions or lotions may also be used during treatment.

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis

The symptoms and signs of atopic dermatitis (eczema) can arise anywhere on the body and differ greatly from person to person. They may consist of:

  • Cracked, dry skin
  • Itchiness (pruritus)
  • Based on skin tone, a rash on swollen skin will have a different color
  • Small, raised pimples on dark-skinned individuals
  • Crusting and oozing
  • Extra-thick skin
  • The skin around the eyes becomes darker
  • Skin that is itchy and raw from rubbing

Atopic dermatitis frequently starts at age 5 and can last into adolescence and adulthood. Some patients experience flare-ups followed by lengthy periods of improvement.

Causes of Atopic Dermatitis

A gene mutation that alters the skin's capacity to protect itself from certain bacterial substances may be linked to atopic dermatitis. A weak barrier function compromises a skin's ability to retain wetness and defend against infections, irritants, allergies, and environmental variables like tobacco smoke.

Staphylococcus aureus overgrowth on the skin causes atopic dermatitis in other persons. This causes the skin's barrier function to be disrupted and displaces beneficial bacteria. One of several varieties of dermatitis is atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Other Related Skin Conditions

Minor skin conditions do exist. Some people have severe symptoms. Among the most prevalent skin conditions are:

Alopecia Areata: hair loss occurring in small patches

Acne: bacteria, oil, and dead skin buildups and reserves occur in your pores due to blocked skin follicles. 

Rosacea: Pimples, thick and flushed skin on the face

Psoriasis: Skin that swells and feels hot

Raynaud’s phenomenon: Numbness and change of color in the skin due to reduced blood flow in the toes, fingers, or other body parts

Vitiligo: Lost pigmentation in patches of skin

Skin Cancer: abnormal and uncontrollable skin cells growth

Can Losing Weight Help With Symptoms Of Eczema?

Since there appears to be a connection between eczema and being overweight or obese, several experts have proposed that lowering weight may aid those with eczema symptoms. In a short study conducted in 2020 with 40 eczema patients, it was discovered that eczema symptoms significantly improved in those who followed a weight loss program that included aerobics and a calorie-restricted diet.

 It is still being determined whether this result was directly related to weight loss or was caused by another factor. According to research, eczema problems may improve with weight loss. Additional health advantages of regular exercise include stress reduction, which may lessen eczema symptoms.

Taking charge of your skin care regimen when trying to lose weight is crucial. When exercising, one should make an effort to stay hydrated, moisturize frequently, and be mindful of how various situations and activities affect their symptoms.

Can Being Overweight Cause Skin Problems?

The general skin characteristics of obese people are frequently changing due to numerous obesity-related issues. According to a 2017 study of American women, obesity severely impairs the skin barrier and moisturizing capabilities, causing the skin to be much dryer and rougher than it would be in non-obese women.

Reduced yellow coloration and variations in skin color, such as facial redness thought to be caused by the local blood vessels dilating in reaction to inflammation, were observed. On the other hand, as shown by changed levels of interleukin (IL)-6, leptin, adipokines, and insulin, scaliness and roughness resulted from systemic inflammation and insulin resistance.

Other Skin Issues Obese People Face

Venous inadequacy brought on by obesity frequently manifests as skin ulcers, commonly on the lower leg. Diabetes can cause skin ulcers that are incredibly resistant to treatment. The amount and thickness of skin folds, which rise with more weight gain, frequently aggravate the chronic inflammatory skin disorder hidradenitis suppurativa. In areas of the body subject to friction as the patient move, such as the underarm, genital, and skin folds, this ailment typically manifests itself.

As a consequence of obesity and associated disorders like diabetes and poor circulation, people with obesity are more likely to get skin infections such as folliculitis, candidiasis, furunculosis, erythrasma, and tinea cruris. Most frequently, these infections develop within and around the breasts and lower vaginal area skin folds, where enhanced moisture, body heat, and sweating encourage the colonization of yeast and other bacteria.


Your doctor will probably ask about your symptoms, look at your skin, and review your health information to identify atopic dermatitis. Tests may be required to identify sensitivities and rule out other skin conditions.

Inquire with your healthcare practitioner about possible food allergies if you believe a specific food may have contributed to your child's rash. Your doctor can advise patch testing on your skin. Small amounts of various substances are put on your skin during this test, and you are subsequently covered. The doctor examines your skin for reaction indicators during subsequent visits over a few days. Patch testing can identify the specific allergies that are producing your dermatitis.

Treatment Options

Frequent moisturizing and other self-care routines may be the first step in treating atopic dermatitis. Your doctor may advise medicated lotions that reduce irritation and aid skin restoration if these don't work. These are occasionally used with other therapies to treat our skin conditions, such as light therapies and wet dressings, in addition to counseling and relaxation sessions. 

Atopic dermatitis may last for years. To control it, try a variety of medications over months or years. And even if treatment is effective, symptoms could still come back.

Learn More With Alfie

Eczema is a set of skin diseases that correlate to obesity and excessive weight gain in individuals. A nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle can help most people reduce weight. However, some people require and seek additional help.

If you are also looking for skilled guidance, contact us at for FDA-approved medications, an ever-available consultation, and professional guidance from our doctors to accelerate your weight-loss journey.