What can make eczema symptoms worse?

What can make eczema symptoms worse?

  • In infants, water with a high level of calcium carbonate (i.e. hard water) may be associated with an increased risk of atopic eczema1
  • Irritants can disturb skin barrier function and may include detergents contained in soaps, shampoos, shower gels, bubble bath and hand washes, including "soap-free" products2,3
  • Air conditioning and inadequate ventilation may result in increased exposure to allergens, e.g. house dust mites and pollens2
  • In children it has been shown that nylon clothing, house dust, unfamiliar pets, sweating and shampoo can cause eczema flares4

Keeping a diary about your activities, lifestyle, diet and work and your symptoms may help you to identify possible factors that make your eczema worse.


  1. Perkin MR, Craven J, Logan K et al. Association between domestic water hardness, chlorine and atopic dermatitis risk in early life: a population-based cross-sectional study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2016;138:509--16.
  2. Proksch E, Folster-Holst R, Jensen J-M. Skin barrier function, epidermal proliferation and differentiation in eczema. J Dermatol Sci 2006;43:159--169.
  3. Moncrieff G, Cork M, Lawton S et al. Use of emollients in dry skin conditions: consensus statement. Clin Exp Dermatol 2013;38:231--8.
  4. Langan SM, Silcocks P, Williams HC. What causes flares of eczema in children? Br J Dermatol 2009;161:640--6.

UK/GEN/16/0051 Date of preparation: October 2016