The cause of eczema is not fully understood, but it is believe to be triggered by an overactive immune system that responds aggressively to the presence of irritants that the normal immune system would ignore. Eczema is also caused in part by an abnormal response to self proteins that are part of the body.
Under normal conditions, the immune system has been trained to ignore proteins that are part of the human body and only to attack proteins from invaders like bacteria or viruses. In eczema, the immune systems loses the ability to distinguish between the two, and inflammation is the result. The inflammatory skin condition is more common in children and adults who also have hayfever and asthma.
Eczema is characterized by flare-ups, when one or more eczema symptoms appear on the skin for a period of time before disappearing. These flare-ups can be triggered by several factors, usually depending on the type of eczema you have. What triggers flare-ups differs from person to person.
Many household chemicals, such as those found in cleaners and certain detergents, can dry out the skin and trigger eczema symptoms.
Sweating or Overheating
A rise in your body temperature and the sweating that follows are common triggers of eczema flare-ups.
Sudden Changes in Temperature
Going from a cool air-conditioned building into the hot outdoor air can cause sweating and overheating, triggering eczema symptoms. Also, a sudden drop in humidity can cause the skin to dry out.
Certain synthetic fabrics or rough, scratchy material, such as wool, can irritate the skin and cause an eczema flare up.
Other Eczema Triggers
- food allergies
- animal/pet dander
- upper respiratory infections