Eczema is one of the rising skin disorders seen in the European and other western countries. There are many types of eczema and though each kind may have a different cause for it, many a time’s doctors and research teams have reiterated that eczema at times simply just happens. This means that at times no particular reason can be found for a person suffering with eczema. Nevertheless there are some prominently known and obvious medical reasons for the occurrence of this disorder of the skin.
Atopic Eczema – Causes
As already mentioned eczema or dermatitis are of many kinds. But broadly they may be classified as atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. The meaning of atopic eczema is quite understandable from the obvious meaning of the words themselves. The word atopic comes from the word atopy which means the hereditary conditions that make some hypersensitive disorders like asthma common in some people. Therefore atopic eczema is hereditary, the signs of which start appearing in babies as young as a few months old only.
Though it is known that atopic eczema is caused by a genetic disorder since it is hereditary they have not yet been successful in discovering the exact genetic reasons for it. Research has claimed that people with atopic eczema have a defect in a gene called filaggrin. Also these people have a slightly different composition of the skin layer.
Normally people have a layer in their skin that not only helps keeping the skin moisturised by maintaining or controlling water loss from the skin but also acts as a general protection to the skin. This layer is an oily layer since it is made of lipids. People that show signs of atopic eczema simultaneously show an underdeveloped lipid layer of the skin. So naturally more the water loss, more dry the skin becomes, having a reddish, dry, scaly and rough appearance.
Also if the rash is inflamed it is because the person suffering from eczema has an immune system that lets out certain chemical compositions under the skin that cause the dry area to be inflamed. However though it is known that the inflammation is caused due to abnormalities in the patient’s immune system the reason for the immune system acting in a particular manner and releasing those chemicals is not known till date.
Contact Eczema – Causes
Contact dermatitis however as the name suggests is the occurrence of eczema due to contact with certain substances that may act as an irritant to human beings in general like the substances in plants as the poison ivy or substances that may act as an irritant to a particular person due to his personal physiological unsuitability to it.
Some scientists are of the view that since there is such an alarming increase of eczema in such a short time it is not possible for genes to be the sole reason and environmental factors or allergens in the environment that may come out of furs of animals, pollen, bed bugs, or even the intake of certain kind of foods like milk, wheat and soya are more responsible for it.
Contact eczema is thus caused when a person comes into contact with certain allergens. This could arise out of contact with certain plants, the allergic reaction to certain soaps, detergents, shampoos, and cosmetics. Also many metals, nickel being one of them is likely to act as an allergen and thus different kinds of jewellery can also cause eczema. For some people certain materials like nylon or silk or woollen clothes act as an irritant and they might develop eczema. There are others who may even be allergic to a bubble bath or develop eczema after a long hot water bath.
Other disorders that cause eczema
Lastly it has also been noticed that people suffering from disorders like hay fever and asthma and even people with hypertension and those that suffer from depression are likely to develop eczema.