Well, this certainly seems to be the number one question on the minds of those who are diagnosed with it. However, the answer is not a simple yes or no because not all eczema is created equally and there are actually many causes. That being said, there are some types of eczema that do run in families and scientists have identified some genes as causing this skin irritation. Therefore, there are some people who can blame their eczema on their ancestry but just because parents or grandparents had it, does not mean that the individual is guaranteed to experience any symptoms at any point in their life.
Types of Eczema
To have a better understanding of which types of eczema are genetic and which are not, it is helpful to explore the two major varieties being contact and atopic.
• Contact Eczema – This is the result of an item such as clothing, jewelry, soap or lotion touching your skin that results in a rash.
• Atopic Eczema – This is the type of eczema that is known to run in families and is seen most often in babies and young children.
The Genetic Connection
Atopic eczema is basically the result of an overactive immune system. Individuals diagnosed with this form of eczema have skin that reacts unfavorably to certain conditions such as dryness, dirt or sweat. Interestingly, these are often triggers for asthma and allergies as well which explains why many people with eczema actually suffer from hay fever and asthma too. This is because their noses and lungs overreact to elements that are typically harmless to others.
Genetics play a huge role in determining how your immune system will react to certain things which is why genes are often to blame for baby eczema. Your immune system is created and controlled by a lot of genes so you actually need a certain combination of genes to end up with eczema. This is why it is not always passed down and why it can also skip generations. To complicate things even more, quite often, even with the right genetic makeup, you may still need an outside trigger to have a reaction.