Eczema triggers – a comprehensive list

Eczema is a common skin condition, affecting one in nine people in the UK. It is characterised by red, itchy skin which becomes dry and 

In severe cases eczema can become raw and even bleed. This can cause great discomfort and distress to the sufferer.cracked in appearance.

There are two main categories of eczema;

Atopic Eczema sufferers are simply prone to developing eczema due to their genetics. People with Atopic eczema are far more likely to have Asthma, Hayfever and Allergies as they share many of the same genetic markers.

Contact Dermatitis is caused by irritations and allergens coming into contact with the skin, which in turn can trigger eczema. There are many types of triggers and it is also dependant on how they come into contact with the individual.

Food allergies that cause eczema

Some common food allergies known to cause atopic eczema flare-ups are;

      • Wheat allergy or intolerance
      • Milk/Dairy allergy or intolerance
      • Sugar allergy or intolerance
      • Gluten allergy or intolerance
      • Egg allergy or intolerance
      • Nut allergy or intolerance
      • Fish allergy or intolerance


We offer allergy and intolerance testing to help you precisely identify what it is you’re allergic or intolerant to, as some minor allergies or intolerances may be causing eczema without you realising it.

Inhalant allergies that cause eczema

An inhalant is anything that you can breathe in that may trigger an allergic response. These may typically be;

      • Pet dander allergies
      • Some nut allergies, in extreme cases.

The following trigger asthma, which in turn can leave a person more likely to have an eczema flare-up:

      • Pollen (hayfever)
      • Dust
      • Mould


Weather that causes eczema

In most cases it takes extreme weather on either end of the scale to cause an eczema flare-up:

      • Hot weather
      • Cold weather
      • Dry weather
      • Humid Weather


Psychological factors which cause eczema

Contrary to popular belief, stress does not cause eczema flare ups. However, the behaviour caused by stress (such as scratching or itching) can irritate the skin, which will cause an eczema flare-up. It is important to note that stress hormones have not been proven to cause eczema directly.

Physiological factors which cause eczema

Dried-on sweat after exercise can cause the skin to become itchy, however it does not directly cause eczema. The scratching or itching that normally follows will trigger eczema, this is commonly known as the scratch-itch cycle.

Contact allergies and irritants that cause eczema

These are any allergens or irritants that come directly into contact with your skin.

      • Dust mites (specifically dust mite faecal matter)
      • Chlorine (from public swimming pools)
      • Dishwater which contains an allergen
      • Any volatile liquid or solvent such as petrol, alcohol and turpentine as these dry out the skin rapidly
      • Oils and industrial chemicals
      • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (Foaming agent found in many products including; soaps, shampoos and toothpaste)
      • Lanolin (oil found in Sheep’s wool)


Clothing that causes eczema

There are common items of clothing which are known to lead to an eczema flare-up:

      • Rough woollen clothes, especially sweaters.
      • Animal fur
      • Rubber (such as washing up gloves)
      • Leather and rubber which has been treated with additives

Metals and jewellery that cause eczema

Metals found in bra straps, jean buttons and studs in clothing, jewellery, and belt buckles can cause eczema flare ups when coming into contact with the skin. The most common eczema-causing metals are:

      • Nickel
      • Copper


The presence of these metals are particularly common in cheap jewellery.

Skin products that can cause eczema

Perfumes, dyes and other chemicals in any skin product used can cause irritation/allergies and eczema. The following are common types:

      • Deodorants
      • Toothpaste
      • Preservatives in non-hypoallergenic skin products


If you’re prone to breakouts with skincare products, check out our hypoallergenic range by Avéne which has been dermatologically tested and is specifically designed for hyper-sensitive skin.

Detergents which cause eczema

Products used to wash yourself, kitchenware, your house or your clothes can contain harmful irritants. Some common culprits are;

      • Washing-up liquid
      • Soap
      • Shampoo
      • Biological washing detergent
      • Conditioner


Infections that worsen eczema

Infections don’t directly cause eczema, but can increase the severity of existing eczema a great deal.
Herpes Simplex is a common virus, which can cause blistering of the skin and leave sores.

On the rare occasion that Herpes Simplex infects an area of skin with active eczema, it will lead to Eczema Herpeticum which can be very dangerous and in some cases be fatal.

Staphylococcus Aureus – This particular bacteria is present on the skin of all eczema sufferers. Current studies suggest it does not play a role in triggering eczema, however this theory is still under dispute and has not yet been ruled out as a trigger.

Streptococcus – This bacteria is always pathological (will cause an infection) and will lead to aggravated eczema.

Have a confidential consultation with a member of our team.
Call us now on 020 3405 3740 or Request a Consultation

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