Eczema And Romantic Relationships: Tips On How To Cope


It’s no secret eczema is a physical and emotional rollercoaster. 

One day you're itchy skin free and feeling on top of the world. The next, you’ve triggered a flare up and feel stuck in a cycle of scratching you can’t seem to free yourself from. 

Inevitably, this yo-yo will impact those closest to you. And romantic partners? Unfortunately they often bear the biggest brunt. 

This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s natural. Of course you rely on your partner to give you the support you need when times are tough, and when you have eczema, this often revolves around your skin. 

Feeling sexually attractive and wanting to engage in intimacy can also be a real struggle. In a recent French study, it showed that 80% of people with atopic dermatitis said it negatively impacted their sexual behaviour and drive.

So as people that have been there and experienced these same emotions, we wanted to try our best to give you some tips and advice that might help. 

In this article, you’ll find:

- How to approach dating when you have eczema

- Qualities to look for in a partner

- The importance of communication

- Sex and intimacy 

How to approach dating when you have eczema 

This can sometimes be the biggest hurdle of all to overcome.

When you’re in the midst of a flare up and down about your skin, how do you pick yourself up to go out and meet people? 

The most important thing to remember is eczema does not define you. It isn’t the beginning and end of who you are. 

That wonderful, amazing person underneath? Don’t be scared to let it shine through for the world to see. 

If however you do have a particularly important date coming up and you want to feel your most wonderful, some quick tips to pay attention to are:

- Moisturise daily (preferably twice).

- Avoid triggers (food and environmental stressors like dust or pet dander to name a few).

- Break the itch-scratch cycle! And give yourself time to heal should your skin require it. (P.s. we have a product to help with that).

- Relax and try to de-stress, reducing the possibility of inflammation. 

And then the rest is down to you. Be confident. Be proud. Be yourself :) 

Qualities to look for in a partner

Clearly when you’re searching for a partner there are certain qualities you might want to look out for. 

Top of the list for us are empathy, kindness and patience. 

It’s so important your partner takes time to understand all the ups and downs of eczema, and is patient enough to help you through difficult periods. 

The flare up cycle can be tough to comprehend when you’ve not suffered from it personally, so compassion and empathy are crucial if they hope to support you through challenging moments.  

The importance of communication

This is a biggie, and something that must be prioritised in any successful relationship, but especially when eczema’s involved. 

Sometimes, you just have your down days. When you don’t feel like seeing the world or stepping outside your house. And that’s absolutely fine. 

But just lying in bed and not telling your partner what’s going on? Unfortunately, that’s not fine. 

You need to communicate your feelings and let them into your state of mind as it changes, which with eczema can sometimes be daily. 

Only then can they begin to understand the emotions you’re going through and give support. 

If they’re left in the dark they might just assume you’ve lost interest, which might well not be the case! 

Don’t be afraid to say - “I’m having a flare up”. Talk about it. Normalise it. And don’t be scared to show them the impacts it has onto your body and mental wellbeing. 

Sex and intimacy 

In any relationship, sex can be a difficult subject. 

You want it, but he doesn’t, then he wants it, but you’re not in the mood (trust us this is very common). 

And when you then shoehorn eczema into the conversation, it can add another layer of complexity that makes things more difficult. 

You may be suffering a very severe flare up and not want to take your clothes off. Or, your skin might be so sore you couldn’t bear the thought of another body rubbing against you.

When in this situation, openness and honesty are so critical to the health of the relationship. 

You have to talk, vocalise your emotions, and let your partner know that now just isn’t a great time. 

It comes back to those key qualities of empathy and kindness that hopefully, will see you through tough times like this. 

Overall, mutual acceptance is the foundation of a loving, long term relationship. Your partner taking you for who you are, and vice versa, will set the building blocks for a happy union :) 

Final thoughts 

Relationships, dating, sex, intimacy - they play such an important role in all of our lives. 

And just because you have eczema doesn’t mean you don’t get to experience it too. Prioritise self care, be kind to yourself and look for someone who will accept you for who you are. 

Feel free to jump over to our Twitter page and share your personal stories :) 

With care, 

The yan-yee team 


- Seneschal J, et al. (2017). Atopic dermatitis in adults: Impact on Sexuality. Link 

- Atopic eczema. (2019). Link

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