Medical articles on Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment

Causes and Risk Factors of Eczema

Eczema is synonymous to the dermatitis which refers to characteristic reaction patterns of skin. Eczema is inflammation of skin which manifests as small fluid-filled vesicles on inflamed and swollen skin.

Eczema picture 1 Causes and Risk Factors of Eczema

Eczema in babies

What Causes Eczema?

The appropriate cause for eczema is not correctly known. Many-a-times the actual cause might be the body’s immune system. Any abnormal response of the immune system and its failure to function properly as a defense system might be the cause of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is known to be inherited in few people as the responsible actor to it is carried in genes. Hence in most of the cases it can be combination of both immune system and genetic factors, responsible for eczema.

Various other reasons include allergens that are known to be allergic to people. These allergens can again vary from person to person. They include environmental substances such as pollution dust, smoke, pollen, household dust, animal dirt, etc. Certain food allergens might also be a reason and they include milk and its products, eggs, beans, fish, peanuts etc.

Contact dermatitis/ eczema is a condition which arises when body gets in contact with certain irritating substances like jewelry, cosmetics, soaps, cleaning substances, perfumes, clothes metals etc. They are capable in triggering eczematous condition. Rubber and wool are also allergens to people who are prone to eczema.

Change in the weather like dry environment or very cold climate can also trigger dermatitis. Psychological stress can also be another cause in many cases though its mechanism is not clearly emphasized. Factors that cause skin dryness can be a cause, if used excessively. Certain type of organism such as Staphylococcal bacteria can also trigger it.

Causes of Eczema in Adults. 

Eczema in adults is less common when compared to children. Certain types of eczema such as atopic, dyshidrotic, varicose, contact dermatitis are generally seen. In many of the cases, person who suffered from dermatitis in childhood can be prone to it even in adulthood. Cause for it may be the

  1. genetic factors
  2. allergic to certain allergens like environmental, dietary or irritating substances.
  3. Contact with harsh substances such as detergents, washing powders, etc can trigger eczema.
  4. Change in the weather such as temperature, humidity etc can lead to eczema.
  5. ‘Cytokine’ which is a protein that controls immune system appears to be less in patients prone to eczema. This is the reason immunity of these patients react to minor irritants too.

Causes of Eczema in Babies & Children

Eczema is more common in children than that in adults. The causes of eczema in children include

  1. allergy to certain substances like soap, water, diapers, clothes and certain metals, when child comes in contact to this, he/she develops eczema.
  2. Certain foods are also known to trigger eczema they include milk, milk products, egg, soya beans or its products, peanuts etc.
  3. Every care has to be taken in selecting and dressing up the child as harsh wool, rubber materials can act as allergens in kids.
  4. Dust, dust mites, etc can also cause the disease.
  5. Excessive rubbing of the skin makes the barrier weak thus giving an opportunity to eczema to attack.

Causes of Facial Eczema

Facial eczema generally affects skin around the eyes and eyelids, neck, face, forehead, scalp etc. usage of cosmetics, harsh soaps, and certain chemicals can act as triggers in causing facial eczema. Allergens like environmental and dietary products result in facial eczema.

Causes of Skin Eczema

Skin eczema can be a result of prolonged itching of skin or usage of skin irritants. Prolonged exposure to water and moisture also result in skin eczema.

With proper care and carefully avoiding these causative factors, following a professional advice can help in preventing eczema.

Causes of Eczema in Hands, legs and feet

Combination of genetic predisposition and ineffective immune system is the primary cause of eczema. Other causes include

  1. continuous itching of hands and legs,
  2. allergens such as dyes in shoe polishes, leather shoes, woolen socks etc.
  3. If a person is in a static position for a longer time and if it results in poor circulation to that part especially legs, it may manifest as statis dermatitis.
  4. Continuous exposure of hands, legs and feet to water or moisture also triggers eczema.

Causes of Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema manifests as small blisters/ vesicles on skin and develops more likely in women rather than in men. Commonest causes of this type of eczema include

  1. psychological stress
  2. certain allergens like pollen; hay etc can also trigger it.
  3. Certain elements like nickel, cobalt chromium and longer exposure of hands and feet to water also result in dyshidrotic eczema.

Causes of Eczema flare ups

Flare up of eczema can be seen when highly harsh substances such as soaps, detergents etc are used. As said certain allergic substances like food, environmental products, skin irritants etc can result in eczema flare up.

  • Continuous moisturizing of skin and carefully avoiding the irritants can prevent flare ups.

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March 19, 2012 This post was written by Categories: Medical No comments yet

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