Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While the exact cause of eczema remains unknown, it is believed to be linked to genetics, allergies, and environmental factors.
It typically appears red, itchy, and inflamed rash that can be uncomfortable and unsightly.
There are several types of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Atopic dermatitis is the most common form and often begins in childhood, while contact dermatitis typically develops as a result of exposure to a particular substance.
Dyshidrotic eczema is characterized by small, itchy blisters that develop on the hands and feet.
Certain triggers can worsen eczema symptoms, including stress, harsh detergents or soaps, wool clothing, and extreme temperatures.
Food allergies or intolerances can also be a trigger for some individuals. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can help manage eczema symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
While there is no known cure for eczema, there are several treatment options available.
Moisturising the skin regularly and using topical corticosteroids or immunomodulators can help reduce inflammation and relieve itching.
In severe cases, phototherapy or oral medications may be necessary.
Overall, eczema can be a challenging condition to manage, but with proper care and attention to triggers and symptoms, individuals can find relief and maintain healthy skin.
Your Fast Guide to our 10 common triggers
- Food Triggers of Eczema: What to Avoid
- Common Fabrics that Trigger Eczema: How to Avoid Them
- Scents to Avoid with Eczema and Tips for Managing Fragrances
- Skin Infections and their Link to Eczema: What You Need to Know
- Coping with Stress and Anxiety Related to Eczema: Tips and Strategies
- Airborne Allergens and Eczema: Understanding the Triggers
- Balancing Hormonal Changes and Eczema: Tips on Managing Your Skin Health
- Managing Eczema in Extreme Temperatures: Tips for Coping with Cold Air and Hot Weather Triggers
- Prolonged Exposure to Water
- The Surprising Link Between Saliva and Eczema: Understanding the Effects on Your Skin
- Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
- Eczema is not contagious and cannot be spread from one person to another.
- The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
- Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever.
- The most common symptom of eczema is itching, which can be severe and lead to sleep disturbances.
- Eczema can appear on any part of the body, but it is most commonly found on the face, neck, hands, and feet.
- There are different types of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
- Eczema can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, certain foods, environmental allergens, and irritants such as soaps and detergents.
- While there is no cure for eczema, it can be effectively managed with proper skincare, lifestyle modifications, and medical treatments. Some children may even out-grow eczema when they get older.
- Eczema can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, including social and emotional well-being.
1. Food Triggers of Eczema: What to Avoid
Eczema triggers can be caused by certain foods containing inflammatory ingredients or causing allergic reactions.
Children with moderate to severe eczema are more prone to experiencing symptoms, which can range from mild to severe and sometimes take days to manifest.
Understanding these triggers can help manage eczema symptoms and provide relief.
- Milk: Cow's milk is a common trigger for eczema in babies and children. It contains proteins and other allergens that may cause an allergic reaction and trigger eczema symptoms. In some cases, the body may not be able to break down the lactose in milk, leading to digestive problems and skin irritation.
- Eggs: Egg whites contain proteins that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. This can lead to eczema symptoms such as itching, redness, and inflammation. Eggs are a common ingredient in many foods, so it can be challenging to identify the trigger.
- Wheat: Wheat is a common allergen that can trigger eczema symptoms in some people. It contains gluten, a protein that can cause an allergic reaction and inflammation. Wheat is a common ingredient in many foods, such as bread, pasta, and baked goods.
- Nuts: Tree nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, and almonds, are a common trigger for eczema in some people. They contain proteins that can cause an allergic reaction and inflammation. Nut allergies can be severe, so it's important to avoid them if you have a diagnosed allergy.
- Seafood: Shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster, are common triggers for eczema in some people. They contain proteins and other allergens that can cause an allergic reaction and inflammation. Fish allergies are less common but can also trigger eczema symptoms.
- Soy: Soy is a common ingredient in many foods and can trigger eczema symptoms in some people. It contains proteins and other allergens that can cause an allergic reaction and inflammation. Soy is found in many processed foods, so it can be challenging to avoid.
Remedy Options for Food Triggers of Eczema:
You can try eliminating or minimising exposure to allergens that trigger the immune response.
This can be from diet, environment or skincare products.
Sometimes it is not possible to eliminate all exposure, hence why lifestyle changes and great skincare products that help with calming inflammation, promoting skin rejuvenation, hydrating and soothing dry, itchy skin, can be a life-saver.
An elimination diet can help identify and avoid food triggers of eczema. By monitoring the food you eat and observing your body's response, you can determine links to eczema symptoms.
Develop an exhaustive diet over several weeks, taking note of every food you eat each day. 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. Once you have identified the foods triggering your symptoms, eliminate them from your diet.
Consulting a nutritionist and allergist can also be helpful. They can carry out further tests to pinpoint the exact triggers and make detailed recommendations on how to adjust your diet.
It's important to note that an elimination diet should not be undertaken without guidance from a healthcare professional.
2. Common Fabrics that Trigger Eczema: How to Avoid Them
If you have eczema, there are certain fabrics that you should avoid wearing. These fabrics can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to the development or worsening of eczema symptoms.
Wool is a common fabric that can trigger eczema. It can cause itching and irritation, leading to the development of eczema rashes.
Wool is a coarse and rough fabric that can cause friction on the skin, leading to the development of rashes.
Synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester can also trigger eczema. These fabrics are not breathable, and they can cause sweating, leading to further irritation and inflammation.
Clothes with rough threads, fibres, fastenings, and seams can also trigger eczema in people with sensitive skin.
These elements can cause friction and rubbing on the skin, leading to irritation and inflammation.
Remedy for Common Fabrics that Trigger Eczema:
The most recommended fabrics for people with eczema are cotton and silk.
Cotton is particularly suitable as it is soft, breathable, and quickly absorbs sweat, reducing the likelihood of triggering eczema.
Silk offers similar benefits to cotton but is more expensive. Bamboo is also a great option as it is eco-friendly, soft, and breathable.
To avoid triggering eczema symptoms, you can still dress in a variety of fabrics by layering your clothing.
The idea is to cover your skin with cotton or other safe fabrics before putting on potentially allergenic fabrics on top.
For instance, you can wear a cotton undershirt beneath a woolen sweater or a silk scarf over a synthetic blouse.
In summary, it's important to choose fabrics that are gentle and comfortable for your skin if you have eczema.
Cotton, silk, and bamboo are great options, while wool and synthetic materials should be avoided. Layering with safe fabrics can also help to prevent flare-ups.
3. Scents to Avoid with Eczema and Tips for Managing Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances used in scented products can be highly irritating to the skin, especially for people with eczema.
Please Note: Synthetic fragrances used in scented products are different from the natural scents of essential oils used in our skincare range which is not synthetic fragrances.
These fragrances can cause allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, and other skin irritations.
Phthalates, commonly found in fragrances, have been linked to hormone disruption and can cause further skin irritation.
Parabens are also commonly used in scented products as a preservative, but they can cause skin irritation and have been linked to health concerns such as breast cancer.
We found 10 fragrances that may cause allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, and other skin irritations:
- Citrus fragrances
- Lavender fragrances
- Patchouli fragrances
- Vanilla fragrances
- Sandalwood fragrances
- Ylang-ylang fragrances
- Eucalyptus fragrances
- Peppermint fragrances
- Cinnamon fragrances
- Rose fragrances
It is important to note that everyone's skin is different and may react differently to fragrances.
It's best to patch test any new products before using them regularly and to avoid any fragrances that have caused a reaction in the past.
When these scented products are applied to the skin, they can damage the skin barrier, which is essential for preventing moisture loss and protecting against irritants.
Damaged skin barriers allow allergens, irritants, and bacteria to penetrate the skin, which can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms.
Remedy for Managing Fragrances to Avoid Eczema Flair-up:
It is important to take steps to avoid synthetic scented products that can trigger symptoms. One of the best ways to do this is to switch to scent-free and hypoallergenic products.
Read labels carefully: Look for products with labels that say "fragrance-free," "scent-free," or "hypoallergenic" to ensure that they do not contain any fragrances or other ingredients that could irritate your skin.
Avoid synthetic fragrances: Many synthetic fragrances can trigger eczema symptoms, so it's important to avoid products that contain them. Instead, opt for natural fragrances or unscented products.
Use natural products: Choose products that are made with natural ingredients such as plant extracts and essential oils, which are less likely to irritate the skin.
Test products: If you're unsure whether a product will trigger eczema symptoms, test it on a small patch of skin first. Apply a small amount of the product to the inside of your wrist or elbow and wait 24-48 hours to see if there is any reaction.
Wash your clothes in fragrance-free detergent: Many laundry detergents contain fragrances that can irritate the skin. Opt for fragrance-free or hypoallergenic detergent instead.
Avoid air fresheners: Air fresheners can contain synthetic fragrances that can irritate the skin. Instead, open windows to let in fresh air or use natural products like essential oils to freshen up your home.
4. Skin Infections and their Link to Eczema: What You Need to Know
Some types of skin infections can trigger eczema if left untreated.
- Atopic dermatitis: Also known as eczema, this chronic skin condition is characterized by red, itchy skin. Infections can exacerbate symptoms and lead to flare-ups.
- Bacterial infection: Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that can infect eczema-prone skin, worsening inflammation and leading to further complications.
- Fungal infections: Dermatophytes and Candida species can cause skin infections that exacerbate eczema symptoms.
- Viral infections: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause eczema herpeticum, a severe complication of eczema that requires immediate medical attention.
- Impetigo: A highly contagious skin infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes, impetigo can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
- Scabies: A skin infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, scabies can lead to intense itching and inflammation, worsening eczema.
- Contact dermatitis: Resulting from an allergic or irritant reaction to substances like soap, cosmetics, or chemicals, contact dermatitis can trigger eczema flare-ups.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This chronic skin condition, characterized by red, scaly patches, can cause irritation and inflammation that worsen eczema.
- Psoriasis: This autoimmune skin disorder can co-occur with eczema, and its flares can exacerbate eczema symptoms.
- Insect bites and stings: Bites from insects like mosquitoes or stings from bees can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to eczema flare-ups if not treated promptly.
It's essential to identify and treat skin infections to prevent exacerbation of eczema and minimize complications.
Some common symptoms of skin infections associated with eczema may include:
- Redness: The skin may become red and inflamed, often as a result of increased blood flow to the area.
- Swelling: Infections can cause the affected area to become swollen and tender.
- Pain or tenderness: The infected area may be painful or sensitive to touch.
- Warmth: The skin may feel warmer than the surrounding areas due to inflammation.
- Pus or discharge: Infections can lead to the formation of pus or discharge from the affected area.
- Crusting or yellowish crusts: Bacterial infections like impetigo can cause yellowish crusts to form on the skin's surface.
- Itching: Skin infections can cause increased itching, which can lead to more scratching and worsen the condition.
- Blisters or sores: Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections can cause blisters or sores on the skin.
- Fever: In some cases, a skin infection can cause fever or general malaise.
Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have a skin infection or are experiencing worsening eczema symptoms.
Remedy for Managing Skin Infections:
The most effective strategy for dealing with skin infections is to prevent them in the first place by minimizing exposure to infectious bacteria and fungi. Using products that support skin healing, reduces inflammation and promotes new skin regeneration ( such as our Dermagen range) can help to minimise infections by speeding up the skin healing process before an infection has time to set in.
In addition, it's crucial to address any symptoms of eczema promptly, as eczema itself can predispose individuals to skin infections. Scratching often leads to broken and damaged skin barrier which increases the risk of an infection.
Seeking timely treatment for secondary skin infections upon diagnosis is equally important.
Here are some detailed preventive measures and treatment options for skin infections associated with eczema:
Maintain good hygiene: Regularly washing your hands and body with a gentle, fragrance-free soap can help reduce the risk of infection.
Be sure to keep your nails short and clean to minimize the potential transfer of bacteria when scratching.
Moisturise: Keeping your skin well-moisturized with fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products can help maintain the skin's natural barrier function and reduce the risk of infection.
Avoid triggers: Identify and avoid known triggers for your eczema, such as allergens, irritants, or specific foods, to minimize flare-ups and the risk of skin infections.
Use anti-inflammatory treatments: Over-the-counter creams or balms or ointments containing hydrocortisone can help reduce inflammation and itching, minimizing the likelihood of breaking the skin and allowing infection. Just don’t apply on broken skin as topical steroids can delay wound healing, and increase the amount that is absorbed. Also try not to use topical steroids for more than a few weeks at a time, tapering down the frequency of application or potency of steroid, once symptoms start to improve.
Oral antihistamines: These medications can help reduce itching and scratching, which can lead to skin damage and infections.
Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection is present, your healthcare provider may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to treat the infection.
Antifungal medications: For fungal infections, your healthcare provider may recommend topical or oral antifungal medications.
Antiviral medications: In the case of viral infections like herpes simplex, antiviral medications may be prescribed to help control the infection and prevent complications.
Phototherapy: In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend phototherapy (light therapy) as a treatment option for managing eczema symptoms and preventing skin infections.
Immunosuppressive medications: In severe cases, healthcare providers may prescribe immunosuppressive medications like corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, or biologics to control inflammation and reduce the risk of skin infections.
5. Coping with Stress and Anxiety Related to Eczema: Tips and Strategies
Stress is a normal physiological response to situations that are perceived as threatening, challenging, or beyond our control. It activates the body's "fight or flight" response, which prepares the body for potential danger. However, chronic or prolonged stress can have detrimental effects on the body. Here is a detailed overview of how stress affects the body:
Nervous system: The initial response to stress is orchestrated by the hypothalamus, which activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). This response releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels to prepare the body for action.
Immune system: Short-term stress can boost the immune system by releasing cytokines, which help fight infections. However, chronic stress can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections, autoimmune diseases, and delayed wound healing.
Cardiovascular system: Stress hormones increase heart rate and blood pressure, putting more strain on the heart and blood vessels. Over time, chronic stress can contribute to the development of hypertension, atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Respiratory system: During stress, the body's demand for oxygen increases, leading to faster, shallower breathing. This can exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Musculoskeletal system: Stress causes muscles to tense up as a protective response, which can lead to chronic pain, tension headaches, and musculoskeletal disorders if not managed properly.
Gastrointestinal system: Stress can alter the balance of gut bacteria and affect the movement and contractions of the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to symptoms like acid reflux, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.
Endocrine system: Chronic stress can affect hormone production, leading to imbalances that can manifest as weight gain, fatigue, and changes in menstrual cycles in women.
Mental health: Prolonged stress can contribute to the development of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It can also impair cognitive function, memory, and decision-making.
Main triggers of stress to look out for:
Work-related stress: High workload, tight deadlines, job insecurity, and difficult relationships with colleagues or supervisors can cause significant stress.
Financial stress: Debt, unemployment, and unexpected expenses can contribute to financial stress.
Relationship stress: Conflicts, breakups, divorce, or the death of a loved one can trigger emotional stress.
Health-related stress: Chronic illnesses, injuries, or a new diagnosis can cause stress and anxiety.
Major life events: Moving, starting a new job, getting married, or having a baby can all be significant sources of stress.
Time management: Overcommitting and struggling to balance work, family, and personal life can cause stress.
Environmental stress: Living in an unsafe or noisy environment, or experiencing natural disasters, can contribute to stress.
Social stress: Feeling isolated, lonely, or dealing with social anxiety can lead to stress.
It's essential to recognize the signs of stress and implement effective stress management techniques to maintain good physical and mental health.
Remedy to Assist with Stress Triggers:
Managing stress is essential for overall health and can be particularly important for individuals with eczema, as stress can worsen the condition or trigger flare-ups.
Here are some detailed ways and explanations on how to manage stress in life to avoid triggering eczema:
Identify stressors: Recognise the situations, events, or relationships that cause you to stress. By understanding the root causes, you can create a plan to address or avoid them.
Time management: Organize your daily tasks and responsibilities, prioritise important tasks, and delegate when possible. Break tasks into smaller steps and avoid procrastination. Make time for relaxation and self-care.
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation to help calm the mind and body. These techniques can lower stress hormone levels and promote relaxation.
Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress by increasing endorphin production, improving mood, and promoting relaxation. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, incorporating activities like walking, swimming, yoga, or tai chi.
Sleep: Prioritize good sleep hygiene by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a calming bedtime routine, and keeping your sleep environment comfortable and free of distractions. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
Social support: Maintain a strong support network of friends, family, or support groups. Sharing your feelings and concerns with others can help alleviate stress and provide new perspectives on challenging situations.
Therapy or counseling: Speaking with a mental health professional can provide guidance on coping strategies, stress management techniques, and help you gain insight into your stressors.
Nutrition: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide the nutrients needed to support overall health and stress resilience.
Limit caffeine and alcohol: Excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption can contribute to stress and anxiety. Limit your intake and focus on staying hydrated with water and non-caffeinated beverages.
Hobbies and interests: Engage in activities you enjoy, such as reading, painting, gardening, or playing music, to help you unwind and relax.
Set boundaries: Learn to say no to unnecessary obligations and avoid overcommitting yourself. Establish healthy boundaries in personal and professional relationships.
Positive mindset: Cultivate a positive outlook by practicing gratitude, focusing on the present, and reframing negative thoughts.
Managing stress is an ongoing process, and it's essential to find a combination of strategies that work for you. By addressing stress effectively, you can reduce the likelihood of eczema flare-ups and improve your overall quality of life.
6. Airborne Allergens and Eczema: Understanding the Triggers
Airborne allergens can have a significant impact on eczema, both directly and indirectly. When these allergens come in contact with the skin, they can irritate and inflame it, leading to allergic reactions and triggering eczema flare-ups.
What to look out for:
Exposure to airborne allergens: Common airborne allergens that can trigger eczema include pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander. When a person with eczema comes into contact with these allergens, the immune system of the skin may overreact, leading to an inflammatory response in the skin.
Disruption of the skin barrier: Eczema-prone skin has a weaker barrier function, which makes it more susceptible to allergen penetration. When airborne allergens come into contact with the skin, they can disrupt the skin barrier, causing irritation and itchiness.
Inflammation and immune response: In response to allergen exposure, the immune system releases various inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and histamines. These substances increase blood flow to the affected area and cause redness, swelling, and itching. Inflammation can further weaken the skin barrier, making it easier for allergens to penetrate the skin and exacerbating the eczema symptoms.
Scratching and skin damage: Itching is a common symptom of eczema, and scratching can provide temporary relief. However, scratching can also damage the skin, leading to small tears and further weakening the skin barrier. This creates a vicious cycle, as damaged skin is more prone to allergen penetration and inflammation.
To minimize the risk of airborne allergens triggering eczema, it's important to be aware of the following:
Monitor pollen counts: During pollen season, be cautious of high pollen counts, especially if you know you are sensitive to specific types of pollen. Keep windows and doors closed to reduce exposure, and use air purifiers with HEPA filters to capture airborne allergens.
Control dust mites: Regularly clean and vacuum your living spaces, and use allergen-proof covers for mattresses, pillows, and box springs. Wash bedding in hot water weekly to kill dust mites.
Manage pet dander: If you have pets, groom them regularly and keep them out of bedrooms or other areas where you spend a significant amount of time. Clean and vacuum regularly to minimize pet dander in your living environment.
Control mold and humidity: Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity levels below 50%. Regularly clean damp areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, to prevent mold growth.
Avoid exposure to irritants: Be cautious of exposure to harsh chemicals, fragrances, and other irritants that may exacerbate eczema symptoms.
Finally, maintain a consistent skincare routine, including regular moisturizing, to strengthen your skin barrier and minimise the risk of allergen-triggered eczema flare-ups. Consult with a dermatologist or allergist for personalized advice and treatment options.
Remedy For Managing Airborne Allergens:
You can minimize airborne allergens in your environment without significantly affecting your lifestyle by adopting some simple habits and making minor adjustments to your living space. Here are some steps you can take:
Regular cleaning: Vacuum and dust your home frequently, ideally using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. This will help remove allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores from your living spaces.
Washable fabrics: Choose washable curtains, blinds, and furniture covers, and launder them regularly. Wash bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, in hot water weekly to eliminate dust mites.
Air purifiers: Invest in air purifiers with HEPA filters for your living spaces, especially your bedroom. These devices can capture airborne allergens and improve indoor air quality.
Humidity control: Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain indoor humidity levels below 50%. This will help prevent mold growth and discourage dust mite proliferation.
Proper ventilation: Ensure that your home is well-ventilated, particularly in damp areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Use exhaust fans to remove moisture, and open windows when the outdoor air quality is good.
Flooring: If possible, opt for hard-surface flooring like hardwood, laminate, or tile instead of carpeting, which can harbor allergens. If you have carpets, vacuum them regularly and consider using a steam cleaner periodically.
Pet care: Groom your pets regularly to minimize shedding, and bathe them as needed to reduce dander. Keep pets out of your bedroom and off upholstered furniture.
Plants: Be mindful of the plants you choose for your home and garden. Opt for hypoallergenic plants and avoid those that produce large amounts of pollen.
Outdoor exposure: When pollen counts are high, try to limit your time outdoors or schedule outdoor activities during times when pollen levels are lower, like early morning or late evening. Keep windows and doors closed during peak pollen times to minimize indoor exposure.
Clothing and shoes: Change clothes and remove shoes when entering your home to prevent tracking allergens indoors. You may also want to shower and wash your hair after spending time outdoors to remove pollen and other allergens.
By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can minimize airborne allergens in your environment without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
These steps will not only help reduce the risk of eczema flare-ups but can also benefit those with other allergies or respiratory issues.
7. Balancing Hormonal Changes and Eczema: Tips on Managing Your Skin Health
Hormonal changes can directly trigger eczema or exacerbate existing symptoms in some individuals.
The exact mechanism is not fully understood, but it is believed that fluctuations in hormone levels can influence the immune system, skin barrier function, and inflammatory processes.
Here is a detailed explanation of how hormonal changes can trigger eczema and what to look out for:
Hormone fluctuations: Hormonal changes can occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that play a significant role in these life stages. Fluctuations in these hormone levels can influence the immune system's response, potentially leading to an overreaction that triggers inflammation and eczema symptoms.
Skin barrier function: Hormones like estrogen and progesterone may affect the skin's barrier function by altering the production of lipids and proteins that help to maintain the skin's integrity.
A weakened skin barrier can make it more susceptible to allergens and irritants, leading to eczema flare-ups.
Inflammation: Hormonal changes can also influence the production of inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines, which contribute to the redness, swelling, and itching associated with eczema.
Higher levels of certain hormones may exacerbate the inflammatory response, worsening eczema symptoms.
Stress: Changes in hormone levels can also affect a person's stress levels and mood. Stress is a known trigger for eczema, as it can weaken the immune system and contribute to inflammation.
Hormonal changes that cause stress or emotional imbalance may indirectly trigger eczema flare-ups.
To identify and manage eczema triggered by hormonal changes, pay attention to the following:
Track your symptoms: Keep a journal to record your eczema symptoms and any potential triggers. Note any patterns or correlations with your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause. This information can be helpful when discussing your symptoms with a healthcare professional.
Consult a healthcare professional: If you suspect that hormonal changes are triggering your eczema, consult with a dermatologist, gynecologist, or endocrinologist. They can help determine if there is a link between your hormones and eczema and recommend appropriate treatments or management strategies.
Maintain a skincare routine: A consistent skincare routine is essential for managing eczema, regardless of the cause. Gently cleanse and moisturize your skin regularly to maintain the skin's barrier function and minimise irritation.
Manage stress: Implement stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that you enjoy. Managing stress can help alleviate eczema symptoms and promote overall well-being.
Medications and treatments: In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend hormone replacement therapy or hormonal contraceptives to manage eczema triggered by hormonal changes. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication or treatment.
By being mindful of your symptoms and working closely with healthcare professionals, you can manage eczema triggered by hormonal changes and maintain healthy skin.
Remedy to Assist in Balancing Hormonal Changes:
Managing hormone changes can help to improve overall well-being and minimize the impact of fluctuations on your skin and other aspects of your health. Here are some steps you can take to manage hormone changes:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Adopting a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep can help regulate hormone levels and improve overall health. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
Manage stress: Stress can have a significant impact on hormone levels. Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Track your cycle: For women experiencing hormone fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle, using a period-tracking app or journal can help you identify patterns and better understand your body's natural rhythms. This information can be helpful when discussing your symptoms with a healthcare professional.
Consult a healthcare professional: If you suspect that hormone changes are impacting your health or well-being, consult with a healthcare professional, such as a primary care physician, gynecologist, or endocrinologist. They can help assess your hormone levels, identify potential imbalances, and recommend appropriate treatments or management strategies.
Hormonal treatments: In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend hormone replacement therapy or hormonal contraceptives to manage hormone imbalances. These treatments can help regulate hormone levels and alleviate symptoms associated with fluctuations. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medication or treatment.
Nutritional supplements: Some individuals may benefit from nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, or herbal remedies, to support hormone balance. Consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and recommendations.
Alternative therapies: Some people find relief from hormone-related symptoms through alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, or herbal medicine. These treatments may help to alleviate stress and improve overall well-being, but it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new therapy.
Support network: Share your experiences with friends, family, or support groups. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can provide emotional support and practical advice.
By implementing these strategies, you can manage hormone changes and minimize their impact on your skin and overall health.
Remember that everyone's body is different, and it may take some trial and error to find the best approach for your individual needs.
8. Managing Eczema in Extreme Temperatures: Tips for Coping with Cold Air and Hot Weather Triggers
Exposure to extreme temperatures, such as cold air and hot weather, can trigger or exacerbate eczema in susceptible individuals.
Here's how these environmental factors can impact eczema:
- Dryness: Cold air typically has low humidity, which can strip moisture from the skin. This can lead to dryness and irritation, making the skin more susceptible to allergens and irritants, and triggering eczema symptoms.
- Reduced skin barrier function: Cold temperatures can negatively impact the skin's barrier function by reducing the production of lipids and proteins necessary for maintaining the skin's integrity. A weakened skin barrier can allow allergens and irritants to penetrate the skin more easily, leading to eczema flare-ups.
- Blood vessel constriction: Cold temperatures can cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to the skin. This can result in reduced nutrient delivery, slower healing, and increased sensitivity to irritants and allergens, potentially exacerbating eczema symptoms.
- Sweating: Hot weather can cause increased sweating, which can further irritate eczema-prone skin. Sweat contains salt, which can have a drying effect on the skin, leading to itching and discomfort.
- Heat rash: Heat and humidity can cause heat rash, also known as prickly heat or miliaria. This occurs when sweat ducts become blocked, causing small, itchy bumps on the skin. Heat rash can exacerbate eczema symptoms and increase itching.
- Increased skin inflammation: Hot weather can lead to increased blood flow to the skin, which can contribute to skin inflammation and worsen eczema symptoms.
- Dehydration: High temperatures can cause dehydration, which can negatively impact skin health and exacerbate eczema symptoms.
Remedy to Manage Extreme Temperatures:
Moisturise regularly: Use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and maintain the skin's barrier function.
In cold weather, opt for thicker creams or ointments, while lighter lotions or gels may be more suitable for hot weather.
Use a humidifier: In cold weather, consider using a humidifier to maintain indoor humidity levels between 40-60% and prevent dryness.
Dress appropriately: In cold weather, wear layers to keep warm and protect your skin. Choose soft, breathable fabrics, like cotton or silk, to minimize irritation. In hot weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe and helps to prevent excessive sweating.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to maintain your body's hydration levels, which can help support healthy skin.
Avoid rapid temperature changes: Transition gradually between extreme temperatures to avoid stressing your skin. For example, in cold weather, wear appropriate clothing when going outside and avoid prolonged exposure to cold air.
Sun protection: In hot weather, protect your skin from the sun by wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Cool baths or showers: Taking cool or lukewarm baths or showers can help to soothe the skin and alleviate itching. Avoid hot water, as it can strip the skin of its natural oils and worsen eczema symptoms.
By following these tips and maintaining a consistent skincare routine, you can manage eczema during periods of extreme temperature and maintain healthy skin.
9. Prolonged Exposure to Water
Prolonged exposure to water can disrupt the skin's natural barrier and for people with eczema, this can lead to increased dryness, irritation, and vulnerability to allergens and irritants.
It is essential to take steps to minimize the negative impact of water exposure on the skin, such as limiting time spent in water, using lukewarm water, and moisturizing the skin immediately after contact with water.
Examples of prolonged water exposure include:
- Taking long baths or showers, lasting longer than 10-15 minutes.
- Spending an extended time in a swimming pool, hot tub, or spa.
- Immersing your hands in water for long periods while washing dishes, cleaning, or engaging in water-related tasks without protective gloves.
Remedy to Assist With Prevention:
If you've experienced prolonged exposure to water and are concerned about its effects on your skin, especially if you have eczema or sensitive skin, there are several remedies and preventive measures you can take:
Disruption of skin barrier: When the skin is exposed to water for extended periods, it can become waterlogged, causing the skin cells to swell. This swelling can lead to gaps between the skin cells, weakening the skin barrier and making it more susceptible to penetration by allergens, irritants, and microbes, which can trigger or exacerbate eczema symptoms.
Removal of natural skin oils: Prolonged water exposure can strip the skin of its natural oils, or lipids, which help to maintain the skin's barrier function and keep it moisturized. The loss of these oils can result in dry, irritated skin, increasing the risk of eczema flare-ups.
Alkaline pH: Tap water typically has an alkaline pH, which can disrupt the skin's natural slightly acidic pH balance. An imbalanced pH can impair the skin's barrier function and make it more prone to irritation and eczema symptoms.
Irritation from chemicals: Prolonged exposure to water, especially when it is chlorinated or contains other chemicals, can cause skin irritation and exacerbate eczema symptoms.
To minimize the negative impact of water exposure on eczema symptoms, be aware of the following:
Limit bath and shower time: Keep baths and showers short, ideally no longer than 10-15 minutes. Avoid soaking in the bathtub for extended periods.
Use lukewarm water: Hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and worsen eczema symptoms. Use lukewarm water for bathing and washing your hands.
Gentle, fragrance-free cleansers: Opt for mild, fragrance-free, and soap-free cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive or eczema-prone skin. Harsh soaps and cleansers can further irritate the skin and worsen eczema symptoms.
Pat skin dry: After bathing or washing your hands, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing, which can cause further irritation.
Moisturize immediately: Apply a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to your skin within a few minutes of bathing or washing your hands. This will help to lock in moisture and support the skin's barrier function.
Use gloves: When washing dishes, cleaning, or engaging in other activities that involve prolonged water exposure, wear waterproof gloves to protect your hands.
Filtered water: If you suspect that chemicals or minerals in your tap water are causing irritation, consider using a water filter or showerhead filter to reduce these substances.
By following these tips and maintaining a consistent skincare routine, you can minimize the negative impact of water exposure on your eczema symptoms and maintain healthy skin.
10. The Surprising Link Between Saliva and Eczema: Understanding the Effects on Your Skin
Saliva can potentially affect eczema in several ways, particularly in infants and young children who may drool or suck on their hands, or in cases of "dribble rash" around the mouth.
Saliva can cause irritation and worsen eczema symptoms due to the following factors:
Enzymes and proteins: Saliva contains enzymes and proteins, such as amylase, lipase, and lysozyme, which can break down the skin's protective barrier, making it more susceptible to irritation and inflammation.
Alkaline pH: The pH of saliva is slightly alkaline, which can disrupt the skin's natural acidic pH balance. An imbalanced pH can impair the skin's barrier function and increase its vulnerability to allergens and irritants.
Moisture: Prolonged exposure to moisture from saliva can lead to maceration (softening) of the skin, making it more prone to irritation and infection.
Remedy to Assist in Managing Saliva Related Eczema:
To manage and prevent saliva-related eczema, consider the following tips:
Keep the skin clean and dry: Gently wipe away saliva from your child's face or hands using a soft, clean cloth. Regularly clean the area around the mouth, and make sure to pat it dry.
Use a barrier cream: Apply a barrier cream or ointment, such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide, around the mouth or on the hands to protect the skin from saliva.
Moisturise: Regularly apply a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer on the affected areas to maintain the skin's barrier function and keep it hydrated.
Use a bib: For infants and young children, use a soft, absorbent bib to catch drool and minimize skin contact with saliva. Change the bib as soon as it becomes wet.
Address teething issues: If your child is teething, provide teething toys or other safe objects to chew on, which can help to minimize drooling and saliva exposure.
Avoid irritants: Choose fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products for washing your child's face, hands, and clothes. Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and fabric softeners that can further irritate the skin.
Consult a healthcare professional: If eczema symptoms persist or worsen despite taking preventive measures, consult a pediatrician or dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment recommendations.
By following these tips and maintaining a consistent skincare routine, you can minimise the impact of saliva on eczema and keep your child's skin healthy.
While there are common triggers for eczema, everyone's skin is different and can react to unique factors.
Some triggers remain unknown and finding a cure is still being researched. It's important to take precautions by consulting a dermatologist and taking skin tests to identify potent triggers and receive professional advice on how to manage or avoid them.
By being aware of potential triggers and taking preventative measures, you can help keep your skin clear and comfortable.