The cause of eczema
is not fully understood, but an overactive immune system is likely to be partly
responsible. An overactive immune system responds to the presence of irritants
that it would normally ignore. Eczema is also caused in part by an abnormal response
to proteins that are part of the body.
conditions, the immune system ignores proteins that are part of the human body.
It only attacks proteins from invaders like bacteria and viruses. In the case
of eczema, the immune system loses the ability to distinguish between substances
that are naturally present and foreign invaders. As a result, inflammation
Certain things can increase the chances that
you or your child will develop eczema. The two most common risk factors are asthma
or hay fever and family history.
Asthma and Hay Fever
Eczema is more common in children who suffer
from asthma and/or hay fever. It is also more common in adults who develop
these conditions before the age of 30. (NEA)
People with family members who have eczema
are at an increased risk of developing the disease. Also, if members of your
family have had hay fever or asthma, you could be at a greater risk for eczema.
characterized by flare-ups, during which one or more symptoms appear on the
skin. These flare-ups can be caused by several factors, depending on the type
of eczema you have. For example, flare-ups related to contact dermatitis could
be caused by a fragrance that you are allergic to, while other types of eczema
could be triggered by the weather.
What triggers the
flare-ups also differs from person to person.
chemicals, such as those found in cleaners and soaps, can dry out the skin and
trigger eczema symptoms. Products containing perfumes can be particularly bad
for people who suffer from allergen-related contact dermatitis. This type of
eczema is part of an allergic reaction.
Sweating or Overheating
A rise in your body
temperature and the sweating that follows are common triggers of eczema
flare-ups. Usually, dry and cool conditions are best for eczema sufferers.
Warm, humid conditions are also breeding grounds for infection because bacteria
thrive in higher temperatures.
Sudden Changes in Temperature
Going from a cool
building into the hot outdoor air can cause sweating and overheating,
triggering eczema symptoms. Also, a sudden drop in humidity can cause the skin
to dry out. On the other hand, nummular dermatitis, another type of eczema, is
only evident during the winter months.
fabrics or rough, scratchy material, such as wool, can irritate the skin and
cause an eczema flare-up.
Other Eczema Triggers
What causes one person’s eczema to worsen may not affect the next person
at all. Additional triggers may include:
The right course of treatment for your eczema
will largely depend on what is causing it and what makes it worse. Pay close
attention to when your symptoms arise and document the conditions. This will
help you make changes to lessen inflammation and potentially stop flare-ups.