Triggers of atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis can be triggered by a range of mechanisms, and trigger avoidance should be encouraged to help control disease activity. Triggers for atopic dermatitis include:

  • Viral infections
  • Food allergens
  • Cosmetics
  • Fragrances
  • Extremes of hot and cold weather
  • Wool
  • Environmental allergens (e.g., dust mites, pollens, moulds, tobacco smoke, animal dander).

Some controversy persists with the role of food allergens in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. Around 50–70% of children with early-onset atopic dermatitis are sensitive to one or more allergens, with these typically being a food allergen (Nutten, 2015; Avena-Woods, 2017). In infancy, food allergens contribute to approximately 40% of atopic dermatitis cases, but do not cause it (Avena-Woods, 2017). Instead, food allergies are co-associated with, or an exacerbating factor, for atopic dermatitis (Nutten, 2015).