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How do you get eczema?

A close-up of a red patch of skin suffering from eczema.
We don’t really know why people get it. But it does seem to be more common in people who also get hay fever and asthma which are probably caused by a sort of reaction to things in the world around them. This kind of problem is know as ‘atopy’ and tends to run in families. Another form of eczema is known as ‘contact dermatitis’. This happens when someone’s skin comes into contact with certain substances. Common culprits are makeup, soap, detergents and perfume as well as hair dyes and certain types of metal (nickel - or cheap jewellery). Some people therefore find earrings give them trouble because they can contain nickel. Eczema is absolutely not infectious so you can kiss people with eczema as much as you (or they!) want.

Atopic eczema does tend to run in families so the tendency to get eczema, like asthma, is inherited.

 

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