Why Do I Have Eczema?
Although the exact cause or causes for this affliction is unknown, the condition may be attributed to an abnormal response from the immune system of the body. To understand Eczema is to understand the largest organ in the human body, the skin...

The outer layer is the epidermis. It contains sheets of epithelial cells called keratinocytes. These keratinocytes are produced at the junction between the epidermis and the second layer of skin, the dermis. The epidermis is supported from below by the dermis. The dermis is made up of connective tissue that contains a mixture of cells giving strength and elasticity to the skin. This dermis layer also contains blood vessels, hair follicles and roots, nerve endings, sweat and lymph vessels, and glands. The elements of the dermis all carry fluids to and from the epidermis so it can grow, respond to the outside world, and react to what goes on inside the body. The epidermis contains many layers of closely packed cells. The skin cells that are closest to the surface are flat and contain a substance called keratin. The epidermis contains no blood vessels, since these are all in the dermis and deeper layers of tissue. Dead cells are shed from the surface of the epidermis and are replaced by other cells that pass from the deepest layers to the surface layers over a monthly cycle. The dead cells on the surface are closely packed together in order to repel bacteria and other micro-organisms.

With Eczema, the problem occurs in the epidermis where the keratinocytes become less tightly held together. Due to this factor, the skin becomes vulnerable to external factors such as soap, water and solvents. These substances dissolve some of the natural barriers of the skin. The skin may then become inflamed as a reaction to minor irritation such as rubbing or scratching. This causes the eczema to worsen, creating a constant cycle of irritation and inflammation. In essence, this is what causes the itches and flare-ups. For some people, upper respiratory infections may also trigger an outbreak, while for others stress or stressful situations can bring on a flare-up.
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