What Causes Atopic Dermatitis?

Despite the fact that atopic dermatitis is very common, no one knows exactly what causes it. Researchers believe that people with atopic dermatitis are genetically more prone to having immune reactions, and that coming into contact with an irritant "triggers" their extra-sensitive skin to react.

The "triggers" could be things that are applied to the skin (e.g. the perfumes or preservatives in some skin creams), things that the skin comes into contact with (e.g. chlorine, pet dander, pollen) or things that are eaten (e.g. nuts, shellfish).

Atopic dermatitis is often made worse by the "vicious cycle" that develops when inflamed skin is scratched, making it even more inflamed and itchy, and causing more scratching.

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