What Triggers Eczema?

You remember how soft and smooth your child’s skin was when they were first born, but now it’s lost its silkiness and is covered in a red, flaky rash. What you wouldn’t give to see your child stop itching and feel the relief only soft, healthy skin can bring. 

At Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, MD, Dr. Ugonma Okparaocha knows that the first step in helping your child’s skin heal is to discover what’s triggering it in the first place. 

Here’s everything you need to know about your child’s eczema and how to manage it. 

An eczema overview

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is one of the most common skin conditions afflicting children, and more than 9 million children under 18 in the United States have it. “Atopic” refers to allergic conditions that affect the immune system, like asthma and hay fever, and “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin. 

It typically presents as dry, cracked, rough patches on the skin, but some types of eczema can cause blisters to form. While it’s not contagious, the rash can make your child not only itch but also cause them to feel self-conscious about their skin.

The good news is that there are many ways to manage your child’s eczema and potentially see it disappear completely as your child ages. 

We offer a comprehensive list of eczema treatments, including topical lotions and creams and medications that manage inflammation and support your child’s immune system. The first line of defense, however, is recognizing what’s exacerbating your child’s eczema and responding to the instigators. 

Common eczema triggers in children

The list of eczema triggers is long, and it’s possible that more than one trigger sends your child into an itching frenzy. Fortunately, it can be easy to manage once you’ve identified the enemy. The following are the most common culprits.


Healthy skin acts as a barrier between the world outside and the important tissues below the surface of the skin. When your child has eczema, that barrier breaks down, allowing moisture to leak and exposing their skin to the elements. Your child is most at risk if you live in a cold, dry climate. 

Be sure to keep your child’s skin moisturized during harsh weather and encourage them to keep the temperature in the shower warm, not hot. 

Soaps and perfumes

The main goal of soaps is to rid the skin of dirt, but they also remove oils found naturally on your child’s skin. These oils are important in keeping skin hydrated. Stripped of its natural lubricator, your child’s skin could break out in eczema. Similarly, the perfumes and alcohols commonly found in soaps and body washes can have the same drying effect. 

Talk to our team about the best soaps, lotions, and other products to get all of the moisture without the harmful additives. 


Eczema significantly compromises the skin’s ability to deflect environmental aggressors. Tobacco smoke, air pollution, chlorine found in swimming pools, and even the fumes from paint or harsh cleaning supplies can affect your child’s skin and cause severe irritation. 

Try to keep track of the environmental factors that could be contributing to your child’s eczema flare-ups. This gives us a much better understanding of how to go forward with treatment. 


From the common cold to the flu, anything that further impacts your child’s immune system puts them at risk for experiencing an eczema flare-up. 


While stress and anxiety aren’t directly linked to eczema, the chemical reaction brought on by these psychological issues can provoke symptoms. 

When your child is stressed, their body releases a hormone called cortisol, which stimulates their fight-or-flight response. This hormone increases inflammation throughout their whole body and can exacerbate eczema. 

No matter what’s causing your child’s eczema, our medical professionals can get to the bottom of it. With our guidance and expertise, you can combine effective treatments with lifestyle adjustments and management strategies to keep your child comfortable and healthy. 

If you’d like more information or would like to get your child started with treatment, give us a call at 410-504-6676 or use online booking to schedule an appointment today.

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