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Is Eczema a Genetic Disorder?

Is Eczema a Genetic Disorder?

Atopic dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema, is a skin condition that causes skin inflammation and irritation in the form of red, dry, and itchy rashes that come and go. Eczema usually begins in early infancy and usually goes away in adolescence, though some individuals continue to have eczema flare-ups well into adulthood.

There is no one exact proven cause of eczema, though it is most likely partially a genetic disorder and partially brought on by environmental triggers.

Eczema Runs in Families

Babies that have eczema also usually have parents that also suffer from the condition. The fact that eczema runs in families suggests that genetics play a role in its development.

In fact, a big risk factor for developing eczema is having family members who have had eczema or other inflammatory or allergic conditions. Around 70% of kids with eczema have a family history of eczema.

If one parent has eczema, allergies, or asthma, there is a 2x to 3x higher probability that their child will have eczema. If both parents have eczema or similar conditions, there is a 3x to 5x higher chance that their child will have eczema.

Gene Variations and Eczema

Research has shown that around 30% of people with eczema also have a gene variation that impacts the skin’s top layer and makes it more difficult for the skin to maintain moisture levels and fight off potential irritants.

Plus, people with eczema have also shown to have an increased risk of other inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and alopecia areata.

This suggests that eczema is at least a partially genetic disorder.

Environmental Triggers

However, genes are not the only cause of eczema. The gene variation makes it harder for the skin to protect itself from irritants, but the skin needs to be exposed to an irritant in order for eczema to manifest.

These environmental irritants are called triggers. Triggers like bacteria, allergens, and even the weather can cause eczema flare-ups.

Treating Eczema

There is nothing you can do about your baby’s genetics. But there are steps you can take to relieve eczema symptoms and prevent future flare-ups.

Skincare is key in treating baby eczema as the proper routine can help repair the skin barrier. The most important components of skincare for baby eczema are daily bathing and moisturizing.

Give your baby a bath at least once a day in warm water. Cleanse their skin with a gentle body wash for eczema to prevent irritation. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash is specially designed to be gentle on eczema-prone skin, making it ideal for use on babies with eczema. After bath time, gently pat your baby dry with a soft towel and apply an eczema cream or ointment while their skin is still damp to lock in the moisture.

Be sure to moisturize at least two other times a day. Use a baby eczema cream that’s free from fragrances, parabens, and other synthetics, as these ingredients are too harsh for sensitive young skin.

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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