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What Causes Eczema to Flare Up?

Tired of those red, itchy patches of skin cropping up at the worst moments? Eczema can be uncomfortable and appear seemingly out of nowhere. Learn what might be triggering your eczema flare-ups so you can start to prevent them!

What is Eczema?

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that causes itchiness and inflammation. The condition is typically influenced by genetic factors that make certain people more prone to skin irritation. While eczema symptoms vary, it typically appears as red, itchy patches of skin. The issue is chronic and often has spikes every once in a while that are known as flare-ups.

 

What Triggers Eczema Flare Ups?

    • Certain Household or Beauty Products

Harsh chemicals in your cleaning or toiletry items may be contributing to your eczema. Avoid products that contain perfume or dyes to keep itchy skin at bay. Cover up when using strong cleaning products, and look for lotions and body washes that are specifically for sensitive or eczema-prone skin. Often baby products are the gentlest.

    • Kinds of Water

You may be tempted to warm up by jumping under a hot shower, but know that this may encourage an eczema flare-up. Instead, try using lukewarm or cool water to bathe. Also, if you have hard water (water that has a high mineral content), it may be worsening your skin issues. Invest in a water softener, or use products specifically for hard water to combat your symptoms.

    • Fabrics

Certain types of clothing may trigger eczema flare-ups. Instead of irritating material like wool, or fabrics that contribute to sweat like polyester, choose light cotton options.

    • Emotional Stress

Have you ever noticed that your flare-ups coincide with particularly stressful phases of life? Studies have shown that stress contributes to inflammation in the body, and therefore is behind some eczema breakouts. If you’ve been dealing with a heavy load of stress, try different yoga or meditation for relaxation, seek out professional help, or prioritize calming activities throughout your day.

    • Allergies and Food Sensitivities

Atopic dermatitis isn’t a symptom of allergies or food sensitivities, but a breakout may coincide with an allergic reaction. Minimize the effects of pollen or pet dander by frequently washing your sheets and carpets. Avoid foods that you are sensitive to, or seek out food allergy testing if you notice that a certain food seems to trigger your skin issues.

    • Dryness

Dry air and dry skin definitely contribute to eczema. If you live in a particularly dry area, consider buying a humidifier for your household. Dry skin is a common problem in the winter, so keep your skin moisturized frequently by applying lotion.

    • Bacteria and Infections

Microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses can cause worsening skin problems. Infections in your skin can be treated with medications, so speak to your doctor to find out if microbes are behind your flare-up and what treatments may be available to you.

 

What to do When Your Eczema Flares Up

As you now know, there can be many different factors that influence your atopic dermatitis breakout. Pay attention to the patterns of your flare-ups to find the triggers that are relevant to you and take the steps you have control over to mitigate those contributing factors. The most important thing to do when you have an eczema flare-up is to consult a professional. Make an appointment with a dermatologist today to start down the road towards healthier skin!