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What Causes Eczema?

What Causes Eczema?

It can be both genetic and environmental. The skin is typically deficient in lipids which are natural oils that puts a protective skin barrier. Without this natural barrier, skin can be more vulnerable and sensitive to the environment. Natural oils can be depleted by more astringent washing agents, chemicals or environmental factors.

Atopic dermatitis is more likely to occur among children with allergies, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and food allergies. But it has been reported that about 30% of young babies are affected by eczema. 

Why Do Babies Get Eczema?

baby eczema

The current thinking is that eczema is caused by a combination of factors that include:

  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Abnormal function of the immune system
  • Activities that may cause skin to be more sensitive
  • Defects in the skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in

Examples of other things that can irritate the skin include:

  • Harsh soaps and cleansers
  • Perfume
  • Makeup
  • Dust and sand
  • Chlorine
  • Solvents
  • Irritants in the environment

Flares can also be triggered by certain conditions that have an effect on the immune system. For instance, things that can trigger or worsen a flare include:

  • Cold or flu
  • Bacterial infection
  • Allergic reaction

The most common things to avoid

What triggers one infant‘s eczema won’t trigger another’s. Still, there are some common eczema triggers to avoid, including:

  • Dry skin. This is often caused by low humidity, especially during winter when homes are well-heated and the air is dry. Dry skin can make a baby’s eczema more itchy.
  • Irritants. Think scratchy wool clothes, polyester, perfumes, body soaps with irritants, and laundry soaps with irritants. These can all trigger a baby’s eczema flares.
  • Stress. Children with baby eczema may react to stress by flushing, which leads to itchy, irritated skin — and an increase in eczema symptoms.
  • Heat and sweat. Both heat and sweat can make the itch of infant eczema worse.


There’s still debate as to whether food allergies in children trigger eczema. Some experts believe that removing cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits from a child’s diet may help control eczema symptoms. Remember, a breastfed baby may be exposed to those foods through mom’s milk in addition to actually ingesting them. Allergens are also found in personal care products. Look for gluten free, soy free and dairy free products. And ones that do not have high allergy nut oils.


What is Eczema? | What Causes Eczema? | Baby Eczema Treatment | Eczema Prevention