What causes eczema?

 

Amy Paller, MD, a dermatologist, explains how the skin and the immune system are involved when someone has eczema. 

What causes eczema?

  • When a child has eczema, many factors can play a role in what causes it.
  • The skin plays a key role because normally our skin acts as a barrier, keeping out germs and other things that can harm us and sealing in water.
  • When eczema develops, the skin’s ability to act as a barrier diminishes.
  • A poor skin barrier causes the skin to lose water easily, which is why your child’s skin is so dry.
  • A poor skin barrier also lets in irritants, potential allergens, bacteria, and viruses more easily.
  • There is also a problem with the immune system, which tends to be shifted.
  • The immune system is shifted in such a way that it leads to the redness and itching that we see when a child has eczema.

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