There are around two million patients being treated by the NHS, and it is one of a number of skin diseases that now make up one in six GP appointments.
But such is the prevalence of eczema in particular that the market for products to help sufferers is now worth £100 million in the UK alone.
There are several causes of eczema, including food allergies, environmental factors, hormonal changes and skin infections, according to the NHS.
However, certain clothing can also be one of the major irritants on the skin.
“Most eczema patients have trouble with clothing because of the exacerbation of the itch caused by short fibres and raised seams which rub in areas of the body frequently affected by the disease,” said Tony Wilson, the CEO of Intelligent Fabric Technologies, who have created DreamSkin, a range of garments for sufferers which don’t irritate the skin and remove the need for a special moisturiser.
He highlighted clothing made out of these three fabrics as being particularly troublesome to eczema sufferers.
“It absorbs moisturisers and consequently feels damp and very uncomfortable,” Wilson explained.
“Additionally, it sticks to weeping lesions which can increase the damage to skin when being taken off.”
The synthetic material, which derives from plastic, is made from tiny fibres that may appear smooth, but can still cause bouts of eczema.
“It is occlusive and causes a rise in skin temperature which makes the itch from eczema worse,” noted Wilson. “It also rubs damaged skin.”
It may seem ideal to cosy up in during winter, but woollen fabrics can similarly irritate eczema.
The material is particularly rough on the skin, which is to blame for flare-ups.
People with eczema can often cope with wearing clothing made from silk, linen and soft acrylic, according to the National Eczema Society.
Silk is the key fabric for DreamSkin which has incorporated the material into 85 garments, including socks, gloves, leggings and tops, for sufferers.
“Silk is a natural, continuous fibre which is famously warm in the winter and cool in the summer and can absorb up to 30 per cent of its weight in water without feeling damp,” explained Wilson, who is seeking £1m of investment on Growthdeck, the private investor platform, for DreamSkin.
The items are currently available on prescription from the NHS and online, and have been approved by the FDA in the United States.
The National Eczema Society also advise using a non-biological asking powder and avoiding fabric conditioner when doing the laundry.