Eczema is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy, red and inflamed skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common form of the condition. There are several elements in your everyday environment that can trigger eczema flares. Let’s take a further look below:
1. Combat Cold Weather
People who live in extremely cold climates may experience a worsening of eczema flares. The cold, dries out the skin. Moisturizing is your best defense to safeguard against unwanted break outs. When the weather is severely cold, I recommend moisturizing up to four times a day. Utilize an ointment during winter months for optimal moisture lock. Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Ideal moisture is between 40 and 50%.
2. Avoid Hot Water
While you may want nothing more than to come home and relax in a hot bath or shower, remember, the hotter the water the drier your skin will become. Choose lukewarm temperatures instead. If you are actively experiencing symptoms of eczema break out and flares, I’d avoid taking baths altogether until symptoms have cleared up (with the exception of a vinegar soak).
Always apply your moisturizer 3-5 minutes after showering. This is the most optimal time for maximizing moisture lock within the skin’s barrier.
3. Live Dust Free
Dust can exacerbate symptoms associated with this irritating condition. The bigger culprit is dust mites. There seems to be a heavier component of this trigger affecting children. Wash your bedding and curtains in hot water once per week. Use dusting cloths and wipes. Avoid using feather dusters. Clean the carpets and any upholstery with HEPA filtered vacuums.
4. Laundry Precautions
Be laundry cautious. Choose free and clear detergents and avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets altogether. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners are common allergens and irritants of eczema and sensitive skin. There are several other laundry tips to consider, when living with eczema.
5. Dress for Success
There are many irritating fabrics that may cause eczema to flare up, including: wool, synthetic fabrics and other rough materials. Choose loose fitting clothing made from cotton or silk instead. While cotton is usually the least irritating, rayon and linen fabrics are usually sufficient substitutes.
6. Sidestep Stress
Stress is part of life and nearly impossible to completely avoid. However, it can trigger flares in some people. Sidestep stress by engaging in relief activities. Some common activities, include: Yoga, Pilates, Tai-Chi, deep breathing, or even, joining a support group to help deal with the struggles.
7. Contact Allergen Awareness
Be aware of contact allergens and skin irritants, including: sulfates, beeswax, parabens, PEGs, dyes and fragrances. These are known to worsen eczematous skin. Visit our toxins and allergens page to see a more detailed list of ingredients to avoid!
8. Avoid Pollen
When pollen counts are high, stay indoors with your windows closed! Pollen can trigger a worsening of atopic dermatitis symptoms. If you spend time outdoors, consider a cool shower and change of clothes once back inside. Taking an oral antihistamine before bed, may help to alleviate seasonal allergy triggers. Speak with a doctor before implementing this as part of your eczema treatment.
9. Pet Dander
Little Fido and Fluffy may be your best friends or surrogate children; however, their dander is a common known trigger of eczema. Brush your pets outside and frequently. Vacuum with a HEPA filtered model and dust regularly. After grooming your pet, wash your hands and avoid touching your face.