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Understanding Eczema: Causes and Effective Treatment Approaches

May 16, 2023
Demi Powell
Core Spirit member since Sep 4, 2019
Reading time 3 min.


Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by dry, itchy, and inflamed skin that can be persistent and bothersome. Understanding the causes and exploring effective treatment options is crucial for managing eczema and improving the quality of life for those affected. In this article, we delve into the causes of eczema and explore various treatment approaches.

Causes of Eczema

  • Genetic Factors: Eczema often runs in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. People with a family history of eczema, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop the condition. Certain gene mutations affect the skin's barrier function, making it more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
  • Immune System Dysfunction: Eczema is associated with an overactive immune response. In individuals with eczema, the immune system reacts abnormally to certain triggers, leading to inflammation and skin symptoms. Allergens, irritants, and microbial factors can trigger this immune response.
  • Environmental Factors: External factors can exacerbate eczema symptoms. These include dry or cold weather, exposure to irritants like soaps or detergents, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and certain types of fabrics. Environmental allergens can trigger an immune response and worsen eczema symptoms.
  • Skin Barrier Dysfunction: People with eczema often have a compromised skin barrier. This means the outermost layer of the skin, which acts as a protective barrier, is not functioning optimally. This allows moisture to escape and irritants to penetrate the skin, leading to dryness, inflammation, and itching.

Treatment Approaches

  • Moisturizers and Emollients: Regular and adequate moisturization is vital for managing eczema. Moisturizers and emollients help restore and maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier, preventing dryness and reducing itching. Look for fragrance-free and hypoallergenic options and apply them immediately after bathing to lock in moisture.
  • Topical Steroids: Mild to moderate eczema flare-ups can often be controlled with topical corticosteroids. These anti-inflammatory creams or ointments reduce redness, swelling, and itching. It's essential to use them as directed by a dermatologist, as prolonged or inappropriate use can lead to side effects.
  • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Non-steroidal creams or ointments, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, are used to manage eczema, especially in sensitive areas like the face and genitals. They help reduce inflammation and itching and are particularly useful for long-term maintenance treatment.
  • Antihistamines: Oral antihistamines may be prescribed to alleviate itching and aid in better sleep during eczema flare-ups. They can help reduce the urge to scratch and provide temporary relief from discomfort.
  • Wet Wrap Therapy: This technique involves applying moisturizers and topical medications to the affected areas and covering them with damp or wet bandages. Wet wrap therapy helps moisturize the skin, reduce inflammation, and enhance the penetration of medications.
  • Avoiding Triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers that worsen eczema symptoms is crucial. Keep a diary to track potential triggers and avoid them whenever possible. This may include certain foods, irritants, allergens, and environmental factors.
  • Phototherapy: In severe or resistant cases, dermatologists may recommend phototherapy or light therapy. This involves exposing the skin to controlled amounts of ultraviolet light, which can help reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Systemic Medications: In severe cases, oral or injectable medications, such as immunosuppressants or biologics, may be prescribed to manage eczema. These medications target the immune system to reduce inflammation and control symptoms.


Eczema is a complex skin condition influenced by genetic, immune, and environmental factors. While there is no cure for eczema, understanding its causes and implementing effective treatment approaches can significantly improve the symptoms and quality of life for individuals affected. Consulting a dermatologist is essential for accurate diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, and ongoing management of eczema. By adopting a proactive approach and following a comprehensive treatment strategy, it is possible to minimize flare-ups and achieve better control over eczema.

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