You’ll already know that eczema makes your skin dry, red, and itchy. For many children it comes and goes but some children have it all the time. Often eczema can disappear when you get older, but sometimes it stays even when you are an adult.
What causes it?
We still don’t know 100% what causes eczema but it tends to run in families. This means you may have inherited eczema from your parents (by having certain predisposing genes). Even if your parents don’t have eczema they may have hay fever or asthma and these are all linked.
We do know that environmental factors play a part in causing your eczema. Things like pollen, dust, pets and mould can be allergens (things your body doesn’t like) for people with eczema and they make your body react abnormally. Your skin overreacts when it comes into contact with something it doesn’t like and that’s what causes it to be sore, red and itchy.
Some things can make your eczema worse or trigger a flare up. Some common triggers are:
- bubble bath, soaps and shampoos
- material like wool can make you itch, so don’t wear a big woolly jumper!
- certain kinds of food
- being unwell or feeling a bit worried about something
A bit more detail about why your skin goes red and itchy
Your skin is very clever and it keep nasty things out of your body, it acts as a barrier. But, if your skin has eczema this barrier doesn’t work very well and it might not produce as much fats or oils, and can’t retain as much water, as other children’s. Things like bubble bath, or scratching, can break your skin down even more and let allergens (things your body doesn’t like such as pollen or dust) get through into the skin which makes it even more red, sore and itchy.