Select Page

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Florida Dermatologist FAQ’s: What Causes Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

The reasons for the occurrence of eczema are not entirely clear. But for most forms of eczema, researchers believe that a combination of genes and a trigger causes the condition.

Individuals with eczema tend to have an over-reactive immune system that responds by creating inflammation when triggered by a substance inside or outside the body.

Research also indicates that some individuals with eczema have a mutation of the gene responsible for producing filaggrin. If there is insufficient filaggrin to create a robust skin barrier, moisture can escape, and viruses, bacteria, and more can enter. Therefore, many individuals with eczema have dry and infection-prone skin.

Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides safe and proven skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, and surrounding locations in Florida.

Eczema Triggers

For people living with eczema, working to keep the symptoms under control is vital to staying healthy and comfortable. Upon trying to identify the potential triggers, it is important to remember that an eczema outbreak can appear sometime after exposure. Due to this time lag, it can be difficult to identify triggers.

It is vital to understand that eczema impacts every person in a different manner. The triggers that affect one person may not be the same as another. The patient may experience the symptoms of eczema at specific times of the year on different body areas.

Some routine things that can trigger an eczema flare or worsen it are as follows:

Dry Skin

Skin can easily become scaly, brittle, rough or tight when it gets excessively dry. This can cause an eczema flare-up.


There are daily-use products and even natural substances that can cause the skin the itch and burn, or become red and dry.

These are products that a person could use on their body or in their home, such as laundry detergent, hand, and dish soap, body wash, or disinfectants and surface cleaners. In fact, even some natural liquids, such as fresh juice from vegetables, fruits, or meats, can cause irritation to the skin when touched.

Common eczema irritants include the following:

  • Metals, specifically, nickel
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaners and soap
  • Fragrances
  • Certain fabrics such as polyester and wool
  • An antibacterial ointment such as bacitracin and neomycin
  • Formaldehyde, which is a component of household disinfectants, some glues, vaccines, and adhesives
  • Isothiazolinones, which is an antibacterial found in personal care items such as baby wipes
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine, which is used to thicken lotions and shampoos
  • Paraphenylene-diamine, which is used in temporary tattoos


Emotional stress is thought to be a trigger for eczema, but it is not entirely clear why. Stress appears to worsen the eczema symptoms in some people. Others may feel stressed due to their eczema, and this can cause an eczema flare-up.

Climate and Sweating

Many individuals with eczema feel itchy or experience a “prickly heat” sensation when they get too hot or sweat. This can occur when a person exercises or wears too many clothes to bed.

The skin may also get too dry during the cold winter months, causing irritation and an eczema flare-up. Air that is too dry or too humid can also contribute to an eczema flare-up. Taking long hot baths or showers can exacerbate the condition as well.

Dr. Ewanowski’s skin care clinic receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, and nearby areas in Florida for advanced and innovative skin care procedures.

SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County , Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor and Daytona Beach Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.