Skip to content

Eczema Health Center

Font Size

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:

Recommended Related to Eczema

3 Questions About Eczema

If your child has a dry, itchy skin rash on the elbow, eczema is most likely to blame. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, atopic, or allergy-related, eczema affects up to 30% of Americans, mostly kids, and the figure is on the rise. At a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in New Orleans, WebMD spoke with Asriani M. Chu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine in the division of allergy and immunology at the Medical...

Read the 3 Questions About Eczema article > >

  • 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    woman meditating
    Learn how to deal with a key trigger: stress.
    scratching
    Getting your eczema under control?
     
    man with eczema
    Does it affect your eczema?
    makeup brushes and foundation
    And be educated when shopping for cosmetics.
     
    Antipsychotic Drugs Blood Clots
    Article
    Eczema Emotional Effects
    Video
     
    young woman touching skin
    Video
    Eczema on arm
    Slideshow
     

    Itching for Relief?

    Get Help With the

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.