Cause of Eczema in Adults

itchy skinEczema

is a skin disease that has long plagued many adults, who go through extensive efforts to control the itchiness and weeping of their skin. Eczema can be painful and irritating, as well as affect one’s self-confidence. According to the British Skin Foundation, at least 10% of infants are affected by atopic dermatitis. This condition usually goes away during childhood. However, eczema can continue in some adults or recur suddenly later in life. Some adults develop eczema for the first time, with no evident explanation at all. Rest assured, though, eczema is not contagious and cannot be contracted from someone with eczema.

We still have much to learn and understand what causes atopic eczema. What is currently known is that the condition has a tendency to run in families and is genetic. If a parent suffers from eczema, asthma or hay fever, their children are more likely to have the same condition as well. Those who have atopic dermatitis have skin that does not perform as well as a barrier to the external environment. As a result, irritant and allergy-inducing substances enter the skin and result in dryness and inflammation.

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What Causes Flare Up in Adults

What causes eczema to flare up in adults can be a number of different factors. Different individuals have different things that cause ‘flare ups’, or a sudden rash and irritation of the skin. Of course, sometimes eczema just occurs on its own or heals up by itself without any explanation. However, there are certain things that can cause flare ups more than others, such as soaps, wool, certain foods, pollution, dust, animal fur and dust mites. Infections with bacteria or viruses can worsen eczema, such as the bacteria Staphylococcus, which makes the skin yellow and crusty, requiring antibiotic treatment.

Lifestyle changes can also cause flare ups. If you have a sudden event in your life that causes stress, or are undergoing difficult and stressful events, these can worsen eczema. Eczema can also come and go depending on the weather and time of the year. Hot weather can worsen eczema, particularly when the skin has sweat on it.

If you have flare ups, try to recall what items you have recently come in contact with and see if there is a trend. You should talk with your doctor about flare ups, and discuss any possibilities for what may be causing them. Your doctor can recommend a dermatologist, who can perform blood tests to find out if you have any allergies.

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How To Manage and Prevent Eczema

Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema, but it can still be managed. The most obvious reaction to eczema is to scratch. This is a very tempting solution because it is so relieving in the short term. However, scratching is damaging in the long term, possibly introducing bacteria and infections into the skin. Scratching also contributes to the itch-scratch-rash cycle, leading to bleeding and oozing. If you feel an itch coming on, break out the gloves and mittens to keep your nails from scratching and breaking the surface of the affected area. If you really must soothe the affected area, rub it or pinch rather than scratching. Placing an ice pack of the affected area is also a nice way to help cool the inflammation.

When purchasing clothing and any fabric that touches the skin, such as bed sheets, avoid any that would likely scratch and irritate the skin. Wool can be scratchy, worsening any rashes and making skin itchy. The best fabric to use is cotton. Cotton clothes and bed sheets are soft on the skin, which will make you feel much better. Choose clothing that is light and will not constantly rub against your skin.

Showers and baths should be warm, but not hot. Hot water can quickly deplete the skin of its natural oils and worsen the skin condition. You should shower and bathe and regularly to keep your skin clean and refreshed. Skin should be dried by patting with a towel, rather than rubbing. Applying lotion or cream while the skin is still damp helps to lock in the moisture.


Although stress is not a direct cause of eczema, as mentioned before, it can worsen eczema and cause it to flare up. Find ways to keep your life as stress-free as possible. Make some time for yourself when possible, and keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable, slightly cool level. Remember to take care of yourself, no matter what curveballs life throws at you.

How To Treat Eczema

Always keep lotions and creams close by for whenever you need it. Some useful places to keep lotions are by your bedside, at your office, and in your car. Generally, keeping lotions in places where you spend a significant amount of time will help you stay constantly moisturized and avoid the dreaded itch. A smaller lotion to carry around is very useful as well. Choosing effective lotions and washes that are formulated for sensitive skin and to manage eczema are important to managing your skin condition.

Medication can also help with atopic dermatitis. You should speak with your doctor and find out what options are good for you. Over the counter hydrocortisone can help manage itches and rashes. Antihistamines are often prescribed to prevent itching and help reduce the effects of allergies. Another option is topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. If the condition is serious, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids in pill form. Phototherapy treatments targets areas affected by eczema by shining ultraviolet (UV) light on these areas.

Managing eczema is a constant process and can be a long-term commitment. Even when your skin appears healthy, it is important to keep a good skin regimen to help prevent outbreaks. Be patient, and remember to remain positive. You and your skin deserve the best treatment for a happier life.