What are the Main Causes of Eczema?

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Eczema is a skin condition with multiple different causes that can cause a wide range of symptoms. While there’s no cure for eczema, people with this skin condition can get treatment to help them manage the symptoms. If you’re having trouble with your skin, the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic may be able to help. We provide eczema treatment in London, and treatment for many other skin problems.

Causes of Eczema

The exact cause eczema isn’t well understood. Eczema isn’t a contagious skin condition, and it’s not caused by an allergic reaction. Some people do mistakenly confuse eczema for a food allergy, as certain foods can trigger eczema.

It’s likely that eczema is the result of a combination of factors, rather than one single cause. These factors may include:

Genetics: Eczema often runs in families, which strongly suggests a genetic role. If one or more family members has eczema, you’re more likely to have it too.

Abnormal immune system function: Children with severe eczema have a higher risk of developing asthma and allergies. This suggests that immune system dysfunction might play a role in the development of eczema.

Environment: Children have a higher risk of eczema if they live in a colder climate, or if they live in an area where there’s high levels of pollution.

Defects in the skin barrier: If the skin barrier is abnormal in some way, it’s harder for the skin to retain moisture. It may also make it easier for irritants to affect the skin.

Eczema Triggers

In people with eczema, their symptoms are triggered by exposure to a range of different substances and irritants. These include:

  • Certain foods, such a dairy foods and nuts
  • Environmental irritants such as pollen, dust, sand, and smoke
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Makeup and perfume
  • Synthetic fibres such as polyester or rayon
  • Certain natural fibres, such as wool
  • Chemicals such as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and soaps and shower gels
  • Having a cold or flu, or a bacterial infection
  • Having an allergic reaction to something, especially pollen or pet dander
  • Activities that increase the skin’s dryness or sensitivity. For instance, prolonged exposure to water, having showers or baths that are too hot, living in a dry climate, or being too hot or too cold.

Note that these triggers aren’t the actual cause of eczema. The cause is an underlying issue that makes the skin more sensitive. Triggers are what causes eczema flares, or that make eczema flares worse. For most people, triggers such as wearing makeup or perfume, or wearing synthetic fibres, don’t have the same effect as they do on someone with eczema.

Early Treatment Helps Prevent Eczema from Worsening

Eczema can be an uncomfortable and even painful skin condition. In extreme cases, eczema can even interfere with sleep and daily life activities. If you think you might have eczema, it’s important to get treatment to manage the symptoms, and ensure they don’t get worse. Contact the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic for eczema treatment in London, to start taking care of the problem.

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