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    Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) - Cause

    The cause of atopic dermatitis isn't known. But most people who have it have a personal or family history of allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis). The skin inflammation that causes the atopic dermatitis rash is considered a type of allergic response.

    Itching and rash can be triggered by many things, including:

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    • Allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, molds, or animal dander.
    • Harsh soaps or detergents, rubbing the skin, and wearing wool.
    • Workplace irritants, such as fumes and chemicals.
    • Weather changes, especially dry and cold.
    • Temperature changes, such as a suddenly higher temperature. This may bring on sweating, which can cause itching. Lying under blankets, entering a warm room, or going from a warm shower into colder air can all cause itching.
    • Stress. Emotions such as frustration or embarrassment may lead to more itching and scratching.
    • Certain foods, such as eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, or wheat products, if you are allergic to them. Up to 40% of children with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis also have some type of food allergy.1 But experts don't agree on whether foods can cause atopic dermatitis.
    • Excessive washing. Repeated washing dries out the top layer of skin. This can lead to drier skin and more itching, especially in the winter months when humidity is low.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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