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October 1, 2021 · 6 min read
Living with a chronic skin condition such as eczema is not the easiest thing to manage. Since it is a lifelong ailment with no known cure, it is important to learn and understand how your body manifests it so you can better treat the symptoms and control the most common eczema triggers.
Also referred to as dermatitis, eczema is a term that is used to generally identify a large group of skin conditions that appear to be itchy, inflamed, and looks like a rash. Essentially, this condition damages the skin barrier function and this makes it drier, more sensitive, and susceptible to infections.
Eczema is one of the most common chronic skin conditions such that 1 out of 12 adults in the UK is affected by it. It can show up anywhere on the skin from the scalp to the toes, however, the most common areas are on the hands, neck, elbows, and feet. Eczema usually appears during childhood, but adults of any age can develop it too. Many different kinds of eczema are typically distinguished by the cause, treatment, or body part that is affected. Symptoms can vary as well from being mild to severe.
Eczema is not a contagious disease and there is no known exact origin and cause for developing it, although experts credit it to the combination of genes and several environmental factors.
Those who suffer from eczema tend to have an overactive immune system and responds to an inflammatory reaction when triggered by certain substances or conditions. This inflammation causes red, itchy, and painfully dry skin conditions. Research also suggests those who have a dysfunctional mutation of the gene responsible for creating filaggrin are mostly affected by eczema. Filaggrin is a protein that helps build a strong and healthy skin barrier, and without it, the skin becomes more susceptible to dryness and infection.
How eczema manifests in each individual can vary, as well as each of their triggers so it is important to remember that some triggers may apply for you but some may not. Probably the easiest way to determine what causes your flare ups is to remove possible triggers and see if it does help. When trying to identify potential triggers, keep in mind that eczema flare ups can appear sometime after exposure, and this delay can make some triggers harder to pinpoint.
The process of identifying eczema triggers may take a while, but at the end of the day, working to keep your symptoms under control is important to staying comfortable while living your life with this long-term condition. Here are some of the most common eczema triggers and how to avoid them:
Those with eczema will tend to have very dry skin since they cannot absorb moisture easily. This dryness may cause the skin to easily react to certain triggers and may cause itch and soreness. Thus, you have to take good care of your skin, and there are several ways to go about it. Soaking in a lukewarm bath can help soothe soreness, and gentle scrubbing (remember not to take longer than 10-15 minutes). Applying a rich moisturizer to soak up moisture should be an essential part of your must-do daily regimen as well.
Dust mites can be a trigger for eczema symptoms, especially for people with allergic contact dermatitis or atopic skin allergy. One thing that you can do to avoid dust mites is washing bed sheets and pillow covers weekly with hot water. There is an option for allergen-proof bed covers as well that may help. Also try eliminating carpets, upholstered furniture, and draperies from your home, as these can collect dust and harbor dust mites over time. In general, clean and vacuum regularly to keep your home dust-free.
Some people with eczema may be very sensitive to specific substances found in detergents and other facial and body cleansing products. With this, you can try using different kinds of brands of detergents and body products to see if it helps alleviate symptoms or worsen them.
Choose laundry soaps that are designed for sensitive skin or the ones that are made for babies. Skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets that are laden with fragrance. Dyes can also irritate some people living with eczema so look for a dye-free washing product. When washing your clothes, make sure to rinse thoroughly to completely take the soap out of your clothes. You can also try natural methods for washing your clothes by using baking soda or white vinegar rinse.
For showers, choose cleaning agents that are mild or fragrance-free. Shampoos can also be purchased in clear, pH-neutral, or unscented forms. Use only the amount suggested, and double rinse if necessary. Immediately observe symptoms after you started using new products.
Pollen is a very common trigger for people with atopic dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. If you are one of them, stay inside when the pollen count is high and keep windows closed. When you get to your house from a day’s work, take a good long shower to take off any pollen that might have collected on your body. If itchy skin is triggered, refer to your doctor should you need help with antihistamines.
Clothing made of wool, synthetic, and rough materials are common triggers of eczema. Go for gentle fabrics such as cotton, that are soft and light on the skin. When you buy new clothes, wash them before wearing them to get rid of specks of dust, irritants, and possible chemicals that they might have accumulated at the store. It’s also best to keep your wardrobe clean and dust-free as often as possible.
Climate and weather conditions may also induce eczema flares such as extreme cold in the winter, or too much sun exposure in the summer. During winter there’s less moisture in the air and this can cause the skin to dry up easily. With this, a humidifier can help retain the surrounding air’s moisture, as well as staying hydrated and moisturized as often as possible. Very hot days can also cause sunburn and sweating that can worsen symptoms of inflamed skin. It is best to use sunscreen, and to stay cool and dry as much as is feasible.
Emotional factors can trigger eczema flares too and this sensitivity could translate to physical manifestations. When you are tense or distressed, the tendency is for the body to release a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can disrupt the immune system and cause inflammation of the skin.
To avoid this, you can try relaxation practices like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and all other activities that help you relax. It is also important to get enough sleep as often as you can. If you are having difficulty and suspect that you need intervention with medical treatment or therapy to address your symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
There can also be a combination of foods that trigger the symptoms of eczema. Be aware that sensitivity to certain food or drinks does not necessarily equate to a food allergy. Having food sensitivity means certain food items elicit certain physical reactions to your body such as upset stomach, skin inflammation flare-ups, headaches, nausea, and the like. Eating these food triggers can induce flare-ups or make your symptoms worse.
Each person’s food sensitivity is different, however, the most common trigger foods for eczema include dairy, nuts, gluten, soy, eggs, and seafood. You can try an elimination diet by consequently removing certain food items in your diet within a given time and then reintroducing them so that you can check and log the reactions and flare-up patterns if you notice any. It is best to consult a Dietician if you plan to pursue a long-term elimination diet.
Research suggests that some women experience worsening eczema symptoms before their menstruation period, while some women also reported worsened eczema symptoms while pregnant and during menopause. Such instances may be associated with changes in the estrogen and progesterone levels. This hormonal change causes difficulty in the skin to retain moisture, hence the dryness that makes eczema symptoms worse.
Since such hormonal changes are impossible to avoid, it is best to check with your doctor for the best ways to manage the regulation of your hormones and the most feasible treatments for you.
Some people with eczema can be more sensitive to irritants, even when it’s made of natural materials or are seemingly everyday products. These items can irritate when it touches your skin and the most common irritants are perfumes, metals, jewelry, antibacterial ointments or creams, and even certain meats or fruits.
When managing eczema being aware of your probably triggers greatly helps however some triggers could be very difficult to avoid no matter how careful you are. If you are looking for a long-term solution to ease your discomfort, choose a more holistic approach with Medovie.
Medovie is not just any other skincare brand – it is a restless company dedicated to its mission of helping people who are suffering from chronic skin conditions. It is built on years and years of extensive clinical studies that led to the ground-breaking development of the 3HX™ formula that is 96% natural and proven to have positive and recognizable results for chronic skin conditions.
Medovie offers a range of scalp and body solutions that are clinically proven to work in addressing eczema symptoms. Our products are all-natural and science-proven safe and effective in providing long-term holistic comfort for those battling restless eczema and atopic dermatitis skin problems.
In Medovie, we aim to help customers through every step of their skin healing journey with us. Schedule a consultation with our scientific founder or a member of our team.