What causes Eczema?

The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but we do know that the most common type of eczema is atopic eczema. Atopic eczema is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The most common triggers are:

  • Irritants (soaps and detergents, wool and synthetic clothing, household cleaning products, chemical agents, perspiration, and hard water)
  • Getting too hot and changes in temperature/weather (central heating and air conditioning, moving between extremes of temperature and humidity, and seasonal changes)
  • Airborne allergens (house dust mites, animal dander, pollens and moulds)
  • Contact allergens (perfume based products, metals, latex and skin product preservatives)

Eczema can also be made worse by skin infection. The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus lives on the skin and commonly infects the open skin wounds seen in severe eczema, but viruses and fungi can also cause infections.

What is the Eczema Advice Programme about?