What Is Weeping Eczema?

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on March 12, 2024
4 min read

Weeping eczema is a problem that stems from eczema where your skin oozes clear or straw-colored liquid. It can sometimes show up as small, fluid-filled blisters. Weeping eczema is common and could happen in anyone with the skin condition. But the symptoms and intensity of your weeping eczema may be different based on the form of eczema you have.

With weeping eczema, blisters will ooze and cause your skin to be wet. Once the fluid dries, it’ll cause a yellow or orange layer of crust over your skin. This usually happens in areas where eczema is common, like where your skin bends (inside your elbow, behind your knees, or on the front of your neck). But weeping eczema can happen anywhere on your body.

There are many different symptoms of weeping eczema. You might have common signs, including:

  • Open sores
  • Blisters
  • Fluid on your skin
  • Redness
  • Crusting
  • Itching, burning, or soreness on your skin

It’s also common for those with weeping eczema to have worsened overall eczema symptoms. They may have worse skin dryness, swelling, or itchiness. People with severe weeping eczema might also notice:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Achiness
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially in your armpits, neck, or groin area)

The problem happens because of inflammation in your skin. Heavy swelling can lead to dilation of your skin’s blood vessels. The vessels will then leak serum into your skin’s soft tissue, which causes edema, or mild inflammation. The serum will also leak onto your skin’s surface.

When your skin dries out, cracks, or becomes inflamed, you’re more at risk for infection. This can worsen your eczema symptoms. Staph (staphylococcus), caused by bacteria, is the most common form of infection in people with weeping eczema.

If the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) enters your skin, it can also cause weeping eczema.

You can’t spread eczema or weeping eczema to other people. But if your weeping eczema is paired with a secondary infection, you could spread that to others.

If you believe your eczema is weeping, call your doctor right away. Quick treatment will help you get the issue under control and lessen any symptoms.

When you go to your doctor’s appointment, they’ll want to confirm that you have eczema first. They’ll look over your skin to check for signs of the skin condition. They may also want to do blood tests, a skin biopsy, a bacterial or viral culture, or allergy tests to ensure your symptoms are from eczema.

Once your health care team has confirmed you have weeping eczema, they’ll want to treat it. Your therapy will depend on what caused the disorder. Your doctor might suggest you use:

Antihistamines. You can get these drugs in pill form over-the-counter or as a prescription. Many people use them to treat allergies. They can also lessen itchiness from eczema.

Corticosteroids. These are topical medications that can treat itchiness and swelling. Your doctor may also prescribe an oral steroid for eczema. Corticosteroids work by lowering the production of chemicals that lead to inflammation. This will lessen tissue damage in your body. These drugs reduce your immune system’s activity, which will also lead to less tissue damage.

Immunosuppressants. With eczema, your immune system is overactive. These drugs lower your body’s immune response and in turn, lessen inflammation.

You may need different treatment if other infections start due to your weeping eczema. Your doctor will be able to prescribe the proper medications in these cases with either antibiotics or antivirals.

To completely treat your weeping eczema, you’ll need medication. But to ease the symptoms, you can also try home remedies such as:

Baths. Colloidal oatmeal is a ready-to-use, FDA-approved soothing agent. You can take an oatmeal bath to ease symptoms of weeping eczema.

You can also try a diluted bleach bath. Use a small amount of bleach in your bath to help kill bacteria on your skin. This can help lessen itching, redness, and rough skin. Be careful to only use this method in moderation. Too much bleach can dry out your skin. Talk to your doctor about the safest way to add this to your routine before you try it at home.

Vitamins and supplements. These can help lower inflammation or help overall eczema symptoms. It may be helpful to add vitamin D, vitamin B12, and fatty acids (like evening primrose and black currant seed) to your routine.

Probiotics. These are combinations of live bacteria or yeasts that are naturally present in your body. Probiotics are good bacteria that help keep you healthy. They can also help fight off bad bacteria. Experts believe that topical probiotics can help ease the intensity of eczema symptoms.

Oils. Some oils can lower inflammation, protect, and restore your skin. Try coconut, olive, or sunflower seed oil to help with eczema symptoms.

If you treat your weeping eczema right away, it should go away within 2 weeks. In really bad cases, it could cause scarring. If you don’t treat the issue, it can cause more serious problems and lead to other infections.

If you have eczema, there are things you can do to avoid infections and weeping. For the best outlook:

Keep a consistent skincare routine. Choose shampoos and washes that are free from dyes and perfumes. Moisturize your skin with an emollient cream twice a day.

Take a timeout. Lower your stress levels to prevent flares. Add more relaxing activities into your schedule or practice meditation and mindfulness.

Listen to your doctor. Follow your health care team’s suggestions about medications and supplements.