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Eczema (cont.)

Eczema Causes

It is generally agreed that the tendency to atopy is inherited. For the purposes of this discussion, the term eczema and atopic dermatitis will be synonymous. Individuals with atopic dermatitis have a variety of abnormal immunologic findings, like elevated IgE antibody (immunoglobulin E) levels and defective cell-mediated immunity which causes difficulty in fighting off certain viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

Like most other noninfectious diseases, atopic skin disease can be triggered by environmental factors.

One of the hallmarks of atopic dermatitis is excessive skin dryness, which seems to be due a lack of certain skin proteins. Any factor that promotes dryness is likely to exacerbate atopic dermatitis.

Common triggers of atopic dermatitis include the following:

  • Harsh soaps and detergents
  • Solvents
  • Low humidity
  • Lotions
  • Rough wool clothing
  • Sweating
  • Occlusive rubber or plastic gloves
  • Rubbing
  • Staphylococcal bacteria
  • Repeated wetting and drying of the skin (food handling)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/22/2014

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