Yeah, stressing over that work deadline can lead to an eczema flare-up.
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.
Dr. Friedler is a dermatologist and clinical instructor at The Mount Sinai Hospital and St. John's Episcopal Hospital.
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When you have eczema, your skin
is more sensitive and vulnerable.
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You need to be careful about
the kind of products you use and
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what you expose your skin to.
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Many different triggers
around the house or
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in your environment can
set your eczema off.
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The first eczema trigger we tell
patients to avoid is dry skin.
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When your skin gets dried out,
it can be brittle, scaly, rough, or tight,
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which can cause an eczema flare up.
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Another trigger is the irritants in
household products like hand and
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dish soap, laundry detergents or
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These can contain ingredients that
irritate your skin by making it itch and
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burn or becoming red and dry.
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We spent a lot of time teaching patients
about how to choose products for
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Itchy, irritating fabrics like wool or
synthetic fibers can cause eczema flares.
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Don't wear those scratchy fabrics
if you know you're sensitive.
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Soft cotton clothing is usually better.
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Also wash new clothes
before you wear them.
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Stress is linked with eczema.
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Some people's eczema symptoms get worse
when you feel anxious or stressed.
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Hot and cold temperatures can
trigger eczema symptoms as well.
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People with eczema can get
itchy when they get too hot or
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sweaty like during exercise or
if you wear too many clothes to bed.
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During cold winter months your skin may
get very dry which causes an irritation.
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Having a humidifier in
the home can help with that.
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Anything that can give you an allergic
reaction can also trigger an eczema flare.
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Some of the most common are seasonal
allergies like pollen and
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ragweed, dust mites, pet dander and mold.
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Eczema causes and triggers. San Rafael, CA: National Eczema Association. (Accessed on September 1, 2017 at https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/.)