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Risk Factors for Eczema

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Eczema

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of having a health problem. A person can have atopic dermatitis with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

Atopic dermatitis is most common in children. It often starts in the first year of life. Other things that raise the risk are:

A Family History

Children are more apt to have atopic dermatitis if their parents have:
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Hay fever

Changes in a certain gene

Some people with changes in the FLG gene are more at risk for atopic dermatitis.

Environment and Lifestyle

Atopic dermatitis is more common in those who:

  • Have a diet high in sugar and polyunsaturated fat
  • Have smaller families
  • Live in the city
  • Live in areas with less sun and low humidity
  • Smoke—or are exposed to smoke

Medical Conditions

Atopic dermatitis is more common in those with asthma and allergies. This may include allergies to:

  • Plant pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Household dust mites
  • Molds
  • Certain foods
Atopic dermatitis is also linked to certain:
  • Behavior and mental health conditions
  • Skin conditions
  • Inflammatory diseases


  • Atopic dermatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atopic-dermatitis. Accessed March 22, 2022.
  • Brunner PM, Silverberg JI, et al. Increasing comorbidities suggest that atopic dermatitis is a systemic disorder. J Invest Dermatol. 2017;137(1):18-25.
  • Understanding eczema in children. National Eczema Association website. Available at: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/children. Accessed March 22, 2022.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.