Can You Fly With Varicose Eczema?

Can you Fly with Varicose Eczema from the UK?

According to the British Skin Foundation, 60% of Brits have suffered, or currently suffer, from a skin condition during their lifetime, so it’s no surprise that you’re probably questioning whether flying on a plane poses any risks for either yourself or someone you may know, with a skin condition. 

Skin conditions come in different forms, but one that you may – or may not – be familiar with is varicose eczema. 

A common skin condition in certain demographics, here, you’ll learn what varicose eczema is to better understand the condition, which will ultimately help you in answering the question: can you fly with varicose eczema?

What is Varicose Eczema?

Varicose eczema, which is also commonly known as venous or gravitational eczema, is a long-term skin condition of the lower legs. It is common in individuals with varicose veins, with roughly 70% of people over 70 years of age suffering from the condition according to the National Eczema Society

It often appears a distinct red or brown colour on paler skin and purple, brown or even grey colouring on darker skin. 

Symptoms of the condition include dry, flaky skin, itchy and swollen areas of the lower legs and a scaly or crusty layer forming on the skin. Other symptoms of varicose eczema include skin discolouration, pain, eczema in other parts of the body, small white scars (known as atrophie blanche) and tight or tender skin that may be hard.

What Causes Varicose Eczema?

Varicose eczema is often caused by valves in the veins of the legs not functioning properly, causing blood to ‘leak’ back into the legs as opposed to being pushed upwards against gravity in its usual direction. This creates an increased pressure in the veins of the legs, which results in fluid accumulation in the surrounding tissue. 

Complications of Varicose Eczema

Varicose eczema can be a serious condition if not treated accordingly. The increased pressure in the legs can place individuals at an increased risk of developing a leg ulcer – a break in the skin on an area of the leg that allows air and bacteria to reach the underlying tissue – creating a risk of infection.

Can You Fly With Varicose Eczema?

In short, yes. However, necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that you remain safe when travelling with varicose eczema. 

We advise that – if travelling by plane is not entirely necessary – you should avoid flying as much as possible.

Issues often arise from being seated for long periods of time, which can cause the condition to be irritated and increase the risk for other health-related issues, such as deep vein thrombosis. 

Consulting a medical professional before flying with varicose eczema, and also ensuring that you have purchased travel insurance beforehand that will cover any medical expenses should you need medical advice or treatment during your trip, is essential.

Advice for Varicose Eczema Whilst Flying

If you’re going to be flying with Varicose eczema, we recommend that you try to get up and move as often as possible. Performing exercises that circulate the blood in the feet, toes and legs can help to relieve any strain on the affected areas. 

Further advice would be to wear compression stockings or socks, this can help improve circulation in the feet and lower legs which may help the condition.

Treating the condition with emollients or creams that you may normally use should be maintained whilst flying to ensure the affected areas are moisturised, as plane environments are known to be dehydrating.

Plane Passengers


To answer the all-important question: flying with varicose eczema is possible. However, we do advise that you get the all-clear from a medical professional, and are aware of the risks and necessary precautions if you are considering travelling on a plane with the condition, beforehand.

If you have varicose eczema and want to ensure that you have appropriate medical insurance that will cover any medical emergencies related to your condition, you can purchase comprehensive insurance from Navigator Travel. Get in touch to find out more about the insurance policies we offer.