Potential triggers of eczema

Eczema or dermatitis often develops in two major forms where both can cause symptoms that are based differently on the sensitivity of an individual to certain substances. The triggers for contact eczema include jewelry, cosmetic products and plants. As for atopic eczema, the symptoms are oftentimes linked with abrasives, food and airborne contaminants.

Remember that both forms of eczema are characterized by symptoms that include swelling, blistering skin, bumps and redness. Among infants and children, these symptoms often manifest on the hands, face, feet and head. Children over 2 and adults typically exhibit symptoms on the interior of the elbows and knees, but can also occur on other parts of the body.

Even though several triggers are common to chronic or contact eczema, they vary from one individual to another. Those who have atopic eczema are encouraged to keep a journal to list down symptoms to help determine the potential triggers for avoidance purposes.

Personal products


Children over 2 and adults typically exhibit symptoms on the interior of the elbows and knees, but can also occur on other parts of the body.

Metal jewelry made out of nickel that is not coated with hypoallergenic silver or gold can oftentimes cause some individuals to develop contact eczema. It is important to note that once an individual develops sensitivity, it becomes a long-term condition. Prevention of the symptoms depends on knowing which triggers might be encountered on a daily basis and avoiding them.

Allergies to rubber in mouse pads and gloves or perfumes in soaps and cosmetics can trigger the symptoms of atopic eczema. Those who have known allergies must check the product labels on personal care products for any irritating ingredients.

Plant-based substances

Plants such as poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac are common causes of contact dermatitis during the summer season. The penetrating oils from these plants provide enough stimuli for triggering adverse skin reactions. The sensitivity of the skin to exposure with abrasive plants such as hay or blackberry thorns and leaves can also trigger the symptoms.

Dietary allergens

Those who have atopic eczema often have dietary allergies that instigate skin symptoms. Meat, nut, fruit juices, eggs, milk, wheat and soy are foods that contain common allergens. If an individual is allergic to gluten present in wheat, glutenous barley and rye are capable of triggering skin issues.

Environmental threats

The recurrence of the symptoms of atopic dermatitis is closely linked to the allergen threshold of the individual. Many individuals experience skin flare-ups once the pollen and mold counts are high. Cigarette, dust mites, animal dander and cigarette smoke are the common triggers of eczema that can trigger allergic respiratory symptoms aside from the skin rashes.

Other conditions and compounds

Coloring agents and chemicals present in finger paints and hair dyes, fragrances as well as other compounds are capable of triggering contact eczema that results to long-lasting symptoms. The physiological changes caused by emotional stress and sweating can also contribute to chronic flare-ups.


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