EczemaEczema Causes

Let's Talk About the Causes of Eczema

Keep this mantra in mind: You didn’t catch or cause your eczema. Stick with us as we scratch beneath the surface of this confusing condition to give you a deeper understanding of why it happens in the first place.

    Our Pro PanelEczema Causes

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in eczema to bring you the most up-to-date information about causes possible.

    Bruce A. Brod, M.D., FAAD

    Bruce A. Brod, M.D., FAADClinical Professor of Dermatology

    University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
    Philadelphia, PA
    JiaDe Yu, M.D. headshot.

    JiaDe Yu, M.D.Director

    MGH Contact Dermatitis and Occupational Dermatitis Clinic at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
    Boston, MA
    Cheryl Bayart, M.D.

    Cheryl Bayart, M.D.Dermatologist

    Cleveland Clinic
    Cleveland, OH

    Frequently Asked QuestionsEczema Causes

    My skin is really dry, does that mean I’ll get eczema?

    Nope. This is a common misconception. Just because your skin is parched, as if it hasn’t had a drink of water in a year, does not mean you’ll get eczema. Dry skin can make existing eczema worse, though, because the drier your skin, the more it will itch.

    Can eczema be caused by poor hygiene?

    No. In fact, some experts believe that people in very clean environments who are not exposed to dust and dirt are more likely to develop eczema. This is no excuse to skip the shower or bath, though. Bathing can help minimize symptoms by pumping moisture into the surface layers of skin.

    Can smoking cause eczema?

    Actually, according to studies, there is a possible link between early exposure to cigarette smoke and adult onset eczema. Researchers believe one reason may be because smoke directly weakens the skin barrier.

    Do allergies cause eczema?

    No, although this can be confusing. If you do have eczema, research shows you may also develop other atopic conditions. Half of patients with moderate to severe eczema also suffer from asthma, hay fever, or food allergies.

    Jennifer Tzeses

    Jennifer Tzeses

    Jennifer Tzeses is a writer and content strategist specializing in health, beauty, psychology and lifestyle.