Eczema

What Causes Eczema? All You Need to Know in Layman’s Terms

Many people around the world suffer from the skin condition called eczema. The reasons for eczema flare-ups are often misunderstood, which means that most eczema sufferers do not know how to manage their condition effectively. It is of great importance to know which factors are the usual culprits that causes flare-ups and also what role the immune system plays in the whole process. Here you will discover some of the fundamental facts about eczema to give you a deeper understanding about your condition and consequently manage it better.

The Role of the Immune System

The reason there is no cure for eczema is because the exact cause of it is unknown. What is known, however, is what happens in the body when it manifests and this has everything to do with your immune system. In your environment there are certain things to which your immune system overreacts to, and this reaction is what brings on the typical symptoms of eczema: severe itching, redness, swelling and forming of a rash and weepy lesions. To control your eczema you need to know that your trigger factors are. One can roughly divide the trigger factors of eczema into four groups: contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, stress and climate.

Contact Dermatitis

As the name suggests, this type of dermatitis is caused by physical contact between a particular substance and the skin. The word “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin (derma=skin, titis=inflammation). Hence the term contact dermatitis means dermatitis as a result of contact with a certain substance. An allergic reaction occurs straight after contact was made and this typically elicits an eczema flare-up. Most irritants of the skin are usually common household products like soaps, detergents, perfumes, deodorants, cosmetics, animal hair etc. Scratchy and roughly woven fabrics can also trigger eczema.

Atopic Dermatitis

Allergies are described as atopic when you show an allergic reaction immediately after you were exposed to something that you are allergic to. This type of allergy is usually to certain foods, dust, pollen, animal dander, mould etc. Once you have an allergic reaction to one of these, your immune system overreacts and causes all the tell tale symptoms of eczema to manifest; intense itch, redness and swelling of the lesions.

Climate

For most eczema sufferers, dry skin is enemy number one. In very dry and cold weather, especially in winter, the skin becomes dried out which causes a flare-up. Weather changes that occur suddenly may also lead to eczema.

Stress

This is one of the biggest cause of eczema and the perpetuation and aggravation of eczema. Anger, frustration, anxiety; these are the kind of emotions that causes and aggravates eczema. The natural solution would obviously be to identify and eliminate (or at least control) the stress factors in your life.

So in a nutshell, these are the main causes of eczema. They are categorised roughly into the four groups above to help you identify the sources of your own trigger factors. It is important to remember that eczema triggers vary from one person to another, so in order to effectively control your eczema you need to know what your triggers are and manage them accordingly. One can discuss this topic in much further detail but this article should equip you with the necessary basics to manage your eczema successfully.

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