Causes & Triggers

The exact causes of eczema are unknown. You might have inherited a tendency for eczema. You may have a family member who has eczema or who has hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or asthma. Many doctors think eczema causes are linked to allergic disease, such as hay fever or asthma. Doctors call this the atopic triad. Many children with eczema (up to 80%) will develop hay fever and/or asthma.

There are many triggers of eczema that can make it flare or get worse. Below are some of the common triggers. You should learn what triggers your eczema to flare, and then try to avoid it.

Irritants:

Cleaning.supplies.glovesIrritants can make your symptoms worse. What irritates you may be different from what irritates someone else with the condition, but could include:

  • Soaps and detergents,
  • Shampoos, dish-washing liquids
  • Bubble Bath
  • Disinfectants like chlorine
  • Contact with juices from fresh fruits, meats, vegetables

 

Allergens:

catIf your genes make you more likely to develop atopic eczema, the condition will develop after you are exposed to certain environmental factors, such as allergens.

Allergens are substances that can cause the body to react abnormally. This is known as an allergic reaction. Some of the most common allergens that can be causes of eczema include:

  • House dust mites
  • Pets (cats > dogs)
  • Pollens (seasonal)
  • Molds
  • Dandruff

 

 Microbes:

Some types of microbe can be triggers of eczema:

  • Certain bacteria like Staphylococcusaureus
  • Viruses
  • Certain Fungi

 

Hot or Cold Temperatures:

  • Hot weather
  • High and low humidity
  • Perspiration from exercise

 

Foods:

PeanutsAtopic eczema can sometimes be caused by food allergens, especially before the age of one. Some studies of children and young people with atopic eczema found that one-third to nearly two-thirds also had a food allergy. Food allergies associated with eczema causes are typically:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soy products
  • Wheat

 

Stress:

Stress is known to be associated with eczema but it is not fully understood how it affects the condition. Some people with eczema have worse symptoms when they are stressed. For others their eczema symptoms cause them to feel stressed.

Read more about how stress and eczema are related

Hormones:

Hormones are chemicals produced by the body. They can cause a wide variety of effects. When the levels of certain hormones in the body increase or decrease some women can experience flare ups of their eczema.