New Irish data reveals burden of common skin condition – World Atopic Eczema Day

Over 40% of reported cutting household expenditure due to cost of managing eczema1

To mark the second annual World Atopic Eczema Day (14 September) and reveal the hidden burden of living with atopic eczema, we’ve released the key findings 1 from the Irish Skin Foundation’s (ISF) ‘Living with Atopic Eczema Survey’ which over 450 people living with eczema or caring for someone with eczema responded to between September 2018 – April 2019.  AE Key Domains of Impact.


Key Findings from the ‘Living with Atopic Eczema Survey’ Infographic


The survey findings revealed the cost of eczema treatments and doctor’s appointments needed to manage the condition can be a significant financial burden. The survey revealed that 42% of carers of children and 49% of adults reported cutting back on household expenses due to the cost of managing atopic eczema. The figures suggest that one quarter of you spend at least €2,300 annually on doctor’s fees, over-the-counter management products and prescription treatments.



The findings also show the pronounced negative impacts that atopic eczema can have on quality of life, including sleep disruption, absences from school, as well as participation in exercise and social activities. A major symptom of atopic eczema is intense itch, which is commonly reported to disrupt sleep, with findings revealing that the overwhelming majority  of children (86%) and adults (84%) living with the condition experience ongoing sleep disturbance.

Additionally, more than a quarter (26%) of carers of children with eczema say their child missed 1-2 days of school per month due to their condition, with over a third (34%) of children and two-thirds (65%) of adults admitting to avoiding exercise, activities and sport. More than half (52%) of adults surveyed avoid social activities altogether.


The figures suggest that one quarter of you spend at least €2,300 annually on doctor’s fees, over-the-counter management products and prescription treatments. 86% of children experience sleep disturbance and more than a quarter missed 1-2 days of school per month. More than half of adults avoid social activities.

Consultant Dermatologist, Professor Anne-Marie Tobin said, “These new Irish survey findings provide us with valuable insights into the often-hidden burden experienced by those living with or caring for people with moderate-severe atopic eczema. To mark the 2nd World Atopic Eczema Day, the ISF survey findings further underscore that people living with this very common condition experience a whole host of challenges in their daily lives, beyond the pain and discomfort of this very common debilitating skin disease.”

The ISF’s, David McMahon said: “The disruption and stress that moderate and severe atopic eczema can cause is very clear from the findings of our recent survey.  And while we know that the family impact of atopic eczema can be profound, we were surprised how disturbed sleep, lost school days and potentially, productivity features so strongly.

“Our work with families impacted by eczema, particularly at this time of the year as the school term starts back, focuses on supporting people to re-establish care routines that will strengthen the skin barrier.  This is quite important in advance of the weather cooling and central heating being turned on again in the autumn, both of which can be a challenge for vulnerable skin and can lead to flares.

“The ISF”, he added, “has plenty of great simple tips, guidance and resources for anyone who wants to establish or re-establish a new skin barrier care routine.  The charity also operates a free Helpline with access to specialist dermatology nurses who provide one-to-one guidance about a range of skin conditions and problems.”

The findings from the ISF’s ‘Living with Atopic Eczema Survey’ were gathered from 454 participants living with predominately moderate-to-severe eczema or caring for someone with eczema in Ireland. The ISF released the findings to highlight the hidden burden of the disease ahead of this year’s World Atopic Eczema Day on 14th September.

This year, the ISF joins GlobalSkin, a unique global alliance, committed to improving the lives of patients with skin conditions worldwide, in raising awareness and understanding of the impact of eczema on patients’ lives.

An ‘Atopic Eczema Panel Discussion’ given by medical experts and patient advocates will take place at the ISF’s skin-health information and awareness event, SkinSideOut, on the 16th November, Science Gallery, TCD, Dublin.


Register for tickets on Eventbrite for SkinSideOut, a first-of-its-kind skin health event taking place in the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin on 16th November. There will be a series of talks on the day on various skin conditions to include an ‘Atopic Eczema Panel Discussion’.

For more information on SkinSideOut and to purchase tickets please visit Eventbrite.

For more information about atopic dermatitis and eczema, visit our main eczema page here.  If you need help or guidance about managing your eczema, contact the ISF Helpline here.



1: Irish Skin Foundation’s ‘Living with Atopic Eczema Survey’ 2019, conducted by the Irish Skin Foundation through an online survey from September 2018 – April 2019, with a sample size of 454 people with eczema or caring for someone with eczema. Murray G, Dolan M, Greenwood M, McMahon D, Watson R, O’Kane M. How Does Eczema Impact Your Life? A Real World Survey In Ireland. Irish Association of Dermatologists Burrow’s Cup – Oral Presentations. Irish Association of Dermatologists Spring Meeting 2019.