If you have eczema, you probably already know that certain things can trigger the disease to flare up. Sometimes, you may not know that you’re being exposed to a trigger until afterward when you have to deal with the rash and itching associated with an eczema flare-up.
In recognition of Eczema Awareness Month this October, the providers at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street in Washington, DC explain more about 5 common eczema triggers that you should avoid so that you can prevent a possible flare-up.
According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31 million Americans have eczema. This inflammatory skin condition can affect anyone at any age, from newborns to the elderly. Common symptoms of eczema include:
There are different types of similar skin conditions that can look like eczema, including acne and psoriasis.
Although every individual has unique eczema triggers, there are still common triggers that affect people most often. They are as follows:
Anything that causes your skin to become dry can trigger your eczema to flare up. These conditions include dry air, extremely cold air, or extreme heat. In these conditions, you’ll want to repeatedly moisturize your skin all day long, but make sure you use an appropriate eczema-friendly moisturizer.
When you’re under a lot of stress or anxiety, you may notice that your eczema begins to flare up. Your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol when you’re under stress.
You can’t remove all stress from your life, of course, but you may need to find healthier ways to manage it. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and journaling are some tips you can use to keep your stress and anxiety under control.
People with eczema tend to be sensitive to certain fabrics. Some specific fabrics that are more likely to irritate include polyester and wool. You may need to experiment to find out which fabrics irritate you. If you can’t avoid them altogether, at least wear another layer underneath the offending fabrics.
When you have eczema, you may already be aware of fragrance sensitivity. But that includes more than just avoiding perfumes. You should make sure that your moisturizers don’t have fragrances that can bother you. Choose products with the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association.
Be sure to use hypoallergenic, unscented products for both body care and cleaning products. Simply choosing “fragrance-free” products may not be good enough.
Some people find that the foods they eat can trigger an eczema flare-up, too. Common foods that can trigger eczema include milk, eggs, wheat, and peanuts, as these foods are often allergenic as well. Other inflammatory foods include those that are heavily processed or high in sugars.
Eczema is a complex skin condition and you may need additional help beyond just avoiding triggers. If you’re having trouble managing your eczema, contact the providers at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street or request an appointment online.