Impact of Eczema


Eczema impacts all aspects of life

The impact of eczema on individuals and families in Australia is often misunderstood and vastly underrated. Skin conditions, primarily eczema, are rated in the top 5 of causes of non-fatal disease burden according to the World Health Organisation. This means that the impact on quality of life is significant. It affects people physically, financially, socially and psychologically.

Many individuals and their families are experiencing social isolation, anxiety, confusion and deteriorating health due to the lack of social support specifically targeting those with complex and chronic eczema. Our member contribution to World Eczema Day highlights some of the ways eczema impacts everyone.

Impacts Of Eczema

Atopic eczema effects up to 30% of children
and up to 10% of adults


The psychosocial impact

Continual itch affects concentration which negatively impacts education, work, social and family life and can lead to:

  • Bullying.
  • Career change.
  • Relationship breakdown.
  • Loss of social connections.
  • Severe sleep deprivation.
  • Reduced learning/concentration capacity.


Living with severe eczema

Many eczema community members report feelings of social isolation, exhaustion and hopelessness resulting in significant risk factors for depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Studies show, compared to the general public, those living with eczema are 44% more likely to have insomnia; 41% more likely to have anxiety and 79% more likely to have depression (Yang,, 2019 and Treudler, 2019).

“Living with eczema and allergies is isolating, extremely stressful and exhausting, both physically and emotionally.” ESA member quote.

“Being excluded socially due to lack of awareness and judgement of appearance plus the prolonged, severe, sleep deprivation and ongoing discomfort, all take their toll,” Melanie Funk, Managing Director, Eczema Support Australia.

Impact Of Eczema Bar Chart


The financial impact

Loss of income (carers and adults with severe eczema)

  • Up to $6000 per year out-of-pocket direct medical expenses.
  • 23.3 visits to doctors per year, on average.
  • 6.5 days in hospital per year, on average.




  1. A-Z of Skin Australasian College of Dermatologists
  2. Chidwick, K. et al Prevalence, incidence and management of atopic dermatitis in Australian general practice using routinely collected data from MedicineInsight. Australasian Journal of Dermatology (2020) 61 pp 319-327.
  3. 2018 Atopic Dermatitis Australian PEEK ( Patient Experience, Expectations and Knowledge) study, conducted by the international Centre for Community-Driven Research
  4. Sandhu JK et al. Association Between Atopic Dermatitis and Suicidality: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol. 2019 Feb 1;155(2):178-187
  5. Jenner N, et al. Morbidity and cost of atopic eczema in Australia. Australas J Dematol. 2004.
  6. Su JC. et al, Atopic eczema: its impact on the family and financial cost. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 1997; 76:159-162
  7. 7 International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organisation. Atopic Dermatitis: A collective global voice for improving care. 2018. Available from:
  8. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, Approval Process for New Drugs and Novel Medical Therapies, Eczema Support Australia submission 22 October 2020, member reports.

All our information about eczema has been reviewed by The Australasian College of Dermatologists.