Science is still unclear on exactly what causes some people to develop eczema, although it seems to involve both genetic and environmental factors. Most people with eczema can identify products, mental and physical states, and situations that trigger eczema flare-ups for them. Eczema triggers are different for everyone, and it may not be possible to avoid all of them. However, doing your best to identify your eczema triggers and avoid exposure to them may help minimize flares as much as possible.
What does it involve?
Dry skin can trigger eczema flares. Bathe in lukewarm water daily and moisturize your skin at least twice a day with a non-irritating moisturizer to prevent dryness.
Cigarette smoke triggers eczema flares in some people, whether they smoke or breathe in second-hand smoke from others’ cigarettes. If you smoke, consider quitting. If you live with people who smoke, consider asking them to quit. If you must live in a house with smokers, it may help limit the smoke you breathe to use an air purifier or increase ventilation.
Many people are allergic to substances common in cosmetics and household cleaning products, such as fragrances and formaldehyde. If perfumes and scented soaps trigger eczema flares for you, switch to unscented products and ask other members of the household to do the same. Choose fragrance-free products for cleaning, or use vinegar and baking soda to avoid breathing triggering chemicals. You can also wear gloves and a respirator mask to protect you from dust and fumes while you clean.
If you have allergies, limit your exposure to allergens as much as possible. You may find it beneficial to purchase an air filter. If you do, a HEPA filter is safest. Clean or replace filters regularly. Cleaning the air ducts of your heating and cooling system may also reduce airborne irritants. If you have pets and are allergic to their dander, have dogs and cats groomed twice a month, and try to keep them out of your bedroom. If you are allergic to dust, minimize carpeting in your house. Bare hardwood floors harbor much less dust than rugs or carpets, especially wall-to-wall carpeting. If you are allergic to mold and mildew, keep bathrooms clean and change sponges regularly to keep it from growing. You can also install ceiling fans to promote better ventilation and keep surfaces dry.
Other common substances that trigger eczema in some people include nickel, a metal present in some jewelry; fabrics including wool and polyester; and paraphenylene-diamine, which is used in leather dye.
If your eczema is triggered by extreme weather conditions such as heat, cold, dryness, or humidity, try to limit your time outside during this type of weather. If you must go out, apply a thick layer of high-oil moisturizer before you go outside.
By avoiding the substances and circumstances that trigger your eczema, you can help minimize your flare-ups.
Many people who are addicted to nicotine find it very hard to stop smoking.
You may not have control over household pollutants or the type of flooring in your home.
You may not be able to avoid going outdoors during weather conditions that trigger your eczema.
A high-quality air purifier may be expensive.
For more information, visit:
Eczema Causes and Triggers – National Eczema Association
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