10 Common Eczema Triggers & How To Avoid Them
Eczema is a common skin condition whose causes and cure are unknown. Here are some interesting facts about the condition:
Facts about Eczema:
- Eczema affects millions of people worldwide
- It affects people of all ages and is especially common among children
- Eczema is attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental triggers
- The condition is easily manageable
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes a rash on the skin. The rash can appear reddish, and it may appear to form leathery and scaly patches on the skin. It is also accompanied by two common symptoms: itching and general discomfort.
Eczema is common. It mostly affects babies and children, but it can affect people of all ages. However, its causes are still unknown. It is attributed to a combination of genetic and environmental triggers. Avoiding these environmental triggers is the best way of managing eczema.
Here is an overview of ten common eczema triggers of eczema. More importantly, you will get great tips on how to avoid and manage these triggers.
Triggers and management
Certain foods are a common trigger of eczema. In particular, foods that contain inflammatory ingredients or cause allergic reactions are likely to trigger or worsen eczema.
Food triggers mostly affect children with moderate to severe eczema. The symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on the trigger and severity of your eczema condition. They can also be immediate or delayed, sometimes taking days to manifest.
Common food triggers of eczema include:
An elimination diet is the best way to identify and avoid food triggers of eczema. An elimination diet essentially involves monitoring the food you eat and identifying links to eczema symptoms.
Start by developing an exhaustive diet covering several weeks. Take note of every food you eat each day and observe your body for symptoms of eczema. Mark down the days when the symptoms worsen and review your diet for those days. Avoid these foods for several days and weeks and observe whether the symptoms ease. Zero down on the foods triggering these symptoms and avoid them altogether.
It is also advisable to consult a nutritionist and allergist and present them with your findings. They will carry out further tests to zero down on the exact triggers and make detailed recommendations on how to adjust your diet.
Your sense of fashion may also be triggering eczema. Your skin may be allergic to certain fabrics, triggering inflammation and eczema. Additionally, some modes of dressing may cause overheating and sweating, which are also common eczema triggers.
Fabrics commonly associated with eczema symptoms include wool and synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Additionally, clothes with rough threads, fibres, fastenings, and seams may trigger eczema in people with exceptionally sensitive skin.
The most recommendable fabrics for people experiencing eczema are cotton and silk. Cotton is especially recommendable because it is soft, cool, breathable, and quickly absorbs sweat that can potentially trigger eczema. Silk offers similar conveniences, but it is more expensive than cotton. Bamboo is also a convenient and affordable alternative.
Additionally, you can still dress in a greater variety of fabrics and avoid triggering eczema symptoms by dressing in layers. The idea is to cover your skin with cotton and other safe fabrics before putting on potentially allergenic fabrics on top.
3. Scented Products
Scented products are a common trigger or eczema. Many of these products contain synthetic, chemical-based ingredients that give them their sweet scent. These ingredients can trigger rashes and inflammation when they come into contact with the skin – the risk is especially high among people with contact dermatitis, one of the seven types of eczema.
Scented products associated with eczema fall into many categories. Common triggers include scented lotions, soaps, perfumes, shower gels, and other toiletries. Additionally, some scented detergents can turn your clothes into eczema triggers.
The best remedy is to avoid all types of scented products. As such, switch to scent-free and hypo-allergenic products. Alternatively, you can test the effects of different scented products to zero down on the specific ingredients that trigger the condition – it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for professional guidance.
4. Skin Infections
Some types of skin infection can trigger eczema if left untreated. The bacteria and fungi causing these infections can cause skin irritation, triggering moderate to severe eczema symptoms.
Additionally, moderate to severe eczema can cause skin infections if left untreated for prolonged periods. The constant scratching can injure the skin and cause open sores, allowing bacteria and fungi to enter and cause other skin infections.
Symptoms of skin infections caused by (or causing) eczema can be severe, especially when there are open wounds. These symptoms include severe itchiness, blistering, fluid drainage from the open wounds, and production of white or yellow pus. Additionally, the infection can compromise the body’s immune system, leading to infections like fever and chills.
The best remedy for skin infections is preventing them by avoiding contact with infections bacteria and fungi. It is also important to begin managing any other symptoms of eczema as soon as they manifest because, as mentioned, eczema can also cause skin infection. It is also equally important to get any secondary skin infections treated as soon as they are diagnosed.
Using products (link to https://dermagen.net.au) that help the skin healing quicker will minimise the risk of getting skin infections.
5. Stress & Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can indirectly trigger eczema by manipulating the body’s hormonal composition. Stress and anxiety cause the body to release a hormone known as cortisol. One of the effects of cortisol is causing inflammation all over the body, especially in large doses. Inflammation then leads to symptoms of moderate or severe eczema, depending on how long you have been under stress.
It is important to consult a dermatologist before buying any over-the-counter medication or result in natural remedies. This is because some of these skin ointments can cause allergic reactions, further worsening the condition’s symptoms. A professional dermatologist will perform exhaustive tests and recommend the best treatment based on your skin’s sensitivity.
Stress can be difficult to prevent, especially when you are not in control of its causes. As such, the best way to avoid triggering eczema symptoms is to cope with your stress as quickly as possible – the idea is to minimize the body’s production of cortisol.
There are dozens of solutions for coping with stress. Common coping mechanisms include:
- Deep breathing techniques
- Listening to soothing music
- Sharing your feelings with loved ones
Ideally, anything that soothes your mind and puts it at ease can be used as a coping mechanism for stress. It is also advisable to consult a psychiatrist for professional help if none of these recommendations work.
It is also worth noting that exercising is one of the uncommon triggers of eczema. Exercising causes sweating, and excessive sweating can cause skin irritation and other eczema symptoms. As such, it is recommendable to rule out sweating as a trigger. It is also recommendable to practice low-intensity workouts and exercise in cool environments to minimize sweating.
6. Airborne Allergens
Airborne allergens are also common triggers of eczema symptoms. They symptoms can be direct or indirect, depending on the type of allergen and the nature of your eczema.
Airborne allergens can directly trigger eczema by irritating the skin and causing allergic reactions. Additionally, they can indirectly trigger the condition by causing respiratory reactions with symptoms such as irritation and inflammation.
The best remedy for this trigger is avoiding airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould, and pet dander. As such, avoid environments when you are likely to encounter these allergens. Additionally, practice good hygiene to keep your home allergen-free – wash your beddings and vacuum your rugs and upholstery often. It is also important to note that this can prevent you from keeping pets in the house.
It is prudent to apply preventative ointments when anticipating exposure to known allergens. Alternatively, dress in clothes that cover most of your skin – including a face mask – when exposed to airborne allergens. Most importantly, it is important to consult a dermatologist or physician when you come into contact with these allergens.
7. Hormonal Changes
Certain hormones can trigger eczema, as highlighted earlier. To this end, drastic hormonal changes for any reason besides stress can trigger the condition. This is because hormonal imbalance reduces the skin’s water retention capacity, causing dryness, itching, and other eczema symptoms.
For example, a drop in estrogen during pregnancy or menopause will significantly increase your chances of experiencing eczema symptoms. Additionally, drastic hormonal imbalances during puberty are a common cause of eczema among teenagers and young adults.
You don’t have much control over your body’s hormone production, so it is difficult to avoid this trigger. However, you can minimize the symptoms’ severity by getting a doctor’s help regulating your hormones. Staying hydrated and keeping your skin moisturised can also minimize the symptoms’ severity. Be especially on the lookout during your menstrual cycles and when your body is undergoing changes associated with hormonal imbalance.
8. Exposure to Cold Air & Hot Weather
Too much cold sucks the moisture out of the air, causing the skin to lose its natural moisture and triggering excessive sweating. Dry skin in turn causes itching and irritation, two of eczema’s common symptoms. Itching in turn causes scratching and inflammation, further worsening the symptoms.
Hot weather has similar effects. Too much heat causes excessive sweating, which is one of the condition’s common triggers. Additionally, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause inflammation, burning, blistering, and other effects that can trigger eczema.
Prevention is the best remedy, and so it is advisable to avoid prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures. As such, spend most of your time in air-conditioned environments. Additionally, dress appropriately for the season – dress warm during the winter and leave enough room for body heat to escape during the summer.
Drinking plenty of water and keeping your skin moisturised also helps when you get exposed to these extreme temperatures. Additionally, try to keep your skin dry by dressing in sweat-absorbing fabrics and taking frequent showers.
9. Prolonged Exposure to Water
Water is a potential trigger of eczema in people with exceptionally sensitive skin and severe cases of the condition. Prolonged exposure to water causes the skin to lose its moisture, causing irritation and persistent itching. Additionally, exposure to contaminated water can trigger the condition regardless of the skin’s sensitivity or the condition’s severity.
The best remedy in this case is to avoid prolonged exposure to water and any kind of contact with contaminated water. As such, spend less time in the rain, swimming pool, shower, and other watery environments. Additionally, apply moisturiser before and after prolonged exposure to water. It is also advisable to take lukewarm showers, and cold and hot showers can accelerate the loss of moisture.
Saliva is a common trigger of eczema in babies and children. It causes itching and irritation as a baby’s skin is highly sensitive. As such, it is advisable to wipe the saliva off your baby’s face as soon as they start drooling. It is also advisable to apply lotions and creams such as Zinc Oxide cream (Sudocream) to create a protective layer on your baby’s skin – however, consult a dermatologist to ensure that the lotion or cream is not a potential trigger.
Consult a Dermatologist or Doctor if Symptoms Persist!
These are just some of the common triggers of eczema. However, there are dozens of potential triggers, and some of them can be unique to your skin’s sensitivity and condition’s severity. Additionally, many other triggers are still unknown – researchers are still trying to identify the condition’s cause and cure. You can never be too safe.
To this end, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist or doctor if your eczema symptoms persist and you are not sure what is causing them. It is also prudent to take exhaustive skin tests to help identify your condition’s most potent triggers and get professional advice on how to avoid or manage them.
However, keep these tips in mind at all times and put them into practice when at risk of coming into contact with any of these triggers. The idea is to keep your skin comfortable and clear by avoiding the condition.