The cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown. Researches are still conducting studies to find out its exact cause. The skin inflammation that results in this skin condition is said to be a form of allergic reaction.
It is important to know that atopic dermatitis is not infectious – that is, it cannot be spread from person to person. So, contrary to what some people erroneously believe, one cannot get it by touching the skin of someone who has this condition. However, there are skin infections that people who have atopic dermatitis can get; and it is those infectious that can be infect other people.
Individuals who have atopic dermatitis should reduce exposure to factors in their environment and chemical substances that cause flare-ups or worsens the condition.
Atopic dermatitis can be worsened by different factors. Some of them include:
- Harsh soaps and detergents.
- Low humidity (especially during cold weather).
- Cold weather.
- Quick temperature change.
- Allergies that occur during certain seasons.
- Wool clothes.
- Dry skin.
- Not moisturising the skin immediately after taking a bath/shower.
- Long baths or showers.
- Skin infection.
- Embarrassment, anger and frustration have also been found to worsen the itching.
- Repeated and/or excessive washing of the skin makes it dry and itchier.
- Some cosmetics/makeup.
- Chlorine (which is usually put in swimming pools).
- Dust and sand.
- Fluids that contain alcohol.
- Animal fur or dander.
- Flowers and pollen.
- Cigarette smoke.
It is important to know that food does not cause this disease. The role food allergies play in atopic dermatitis is controversial – some researchers believe that food allergies are associated with atopic dermatitis, and some researchers do not believe so. But it has been discovered (based on the results of some studies) that food allergies can worsen this condition. Usually children who suffer from this disease have allergies to certain foods including nuts, fish, eggs, yogurt, shellfish, wheat, soy products, cheese, milk and other foods that contain milk.
Different factors in the environment can trigger symptoms of this skin condition at any point in the life of a person who inherited the atopic dermatitis trait.