Even with an ideal eczema skin care regimen (short showers, lots of moisturizer) your eczema symptoms might keep coming back. Unfortunately, even your best efforts to stay moisturized can be foiled by some common eczema triggers.
You can avoid these skin irritants once you know what to look for. Here are six common triggers that can make eczema worse, according to dermatologist Suzanne Friedler, MD.
Dry skin. Yep, dry skin is both a trigger for and a symptom of eczema. Dry skin leads to itching, which leads to more dry skin, which leads to more itching. Keep your skin hydrated, and you’ll be more likely to prevent that frustrating “itch-scratch cycle.” Use these tips to relieve eczema itching naturally.
Household products like soaps, detergents, and cleaning products. Even products labeled “natural” can irritate skin. It takes a little trial and error to find products that keep your eczema itch at bay, but start by looking for products that are free of any dyes and fragrances.
Wool and other itchy, synthetic fibers. “Don’t wear those scratchy fabrics if you know you’re sensitive,” says Dr. Friedler. “Soft, cotton clothing is usually better.” Oh, and some clothes contain dyes that can trigger your eczema, so the National Eczema Association recommends washing new clothes before wearing them. (The same goes for your new bedsheets. Here are more laundry tips to prevent eczema symptoms.)
Stress. Your mental and emotional health may impact eczema flare-ups. In fact, some doctors are now practicing “psychodermatology,” which means promoting methods like meditation to relieve eczema symptoms.
Hot and cold temperatures. Extreme temperatures can dry out the skin, especially moving from one temperature extreme to another. That’s why a lukewarm temperature is the safest bet when showering with eczema. If your home gets dry air during cold winter months, get a humidifier to keep the skin hydrated.
Anything that can give you an allergic reaction. Your eczema might flare up if you have an allergic reaction to triggers like pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and dandruff.
In addition to avoiding these common triggers, here are four common mistakes that make eczema symptoms worse.