Life with eczema can feel unpredictable. One day you may feel like your skin is under control, and the next day you may feel things have gone haywire. There are a few known triggers to eczema flares that you may want to consider when trying to identify what causes yours to occur. Although this list is not exhaustive, it may be helpful in your condition journey to avoid potential triggers.
Triggers of eczema Include (but are not limited to)…
A common trigger for eczema are from products/ingredients that we use or are exposed to. Many of these things are easily avoidable or can be replaced with safer, less irritating options.
These can include:
- Hair products
- Face skin products (acids, facewash)
If you find that one or more of these things bother your skin or trigger your eczema, stop using them immediately. Remember that what triggers one person’s skin may not trigger another person, and you may be fine with exposure to the things mentioned above.
There are many environmental factors that can trigger an eczema flare, including:
- Animal fur/hair
Some of these factors are impossible to avoid, such as weather. One thing to consider is why something like weather impacts your eczema. For example, in dry heat, your eczema may be triggered. A way to combat this would be to do what you can to add moisture to your skin. You could do this by keeping well hydrated, keeping a humidifier in your home, and using a skin moisturiser. By increasing these things when the weather is dry, you can reduce the impact of the dry weather on your skin.
The clothes we wear can have a big impact on our skin, as some materials may be more irritating to our skin than others. Some materials that often cause people with eczema to become itchy, include materials like wool, nylon, polyester and other synthetic materials. These cause itching as they often cause one to become hot, which can cause the itch to begin. Also, anything that pokes, is rough, or rubs against the skin that is not smooth, can cause the itch of eczema to begin. If you are looking for materials that are better for your skin and eczema, cotton is always a safe bet, ideally 100% cotton. Bamboo and silk are als good options for breathable materials that may help your skin stay calm. If you are unsure about wearing silk, consider buying undergarments made of silk, many have been made specifically for those with eczema to provide a barrier between your skin and your actual clothes. For an everyday choice, cotton is probably the best bet!
Changes in your hormones, especially for women, can have a significant impact on your skin in general. When you have eczema, you may find that your symptoms are worse leading up to your period. If you are pregnant, your body is working to protect and guard your baby, and therefore there is a bit less protection against things like allergies and eczema. For those experiencing menopause, eczema may be triggered because your immune system isn’t as strong as it was before. There is limited research as to the significance of oestrogen in relation to eczema, however it seems people do experience changes when it comes to this hormone changing levels.
Another hormone, cortisol, which suppresses your immune system, is released when one is feeling stressed. Therefore, if you are experiencing stressful situations, and cortisol is released, you may find that you go into a flare. These situations are often out of our hands and the best route forward is to have a plan for managing your flares so that if one does occur, you can treat it quickly and not add to your stress levels by being unprepared.
There is no significant research that shows that food allergies can cause eczema. However, people with eczema often do have other allergy-based conditions, such as food allergies. If you find that eating certain foods makes your eczema flare, you should make an appointment with your doctor to investigate what the connection may be. It is possible that a food allergy test is necessary in your case. It is also important that if you have a food allergy, that you do not use any product on your skin such as lotion or shampoo/conditioner that has that food allergen in it. Allergens such as soy, nuts and dairy often show up in beauty products so make sure to read ingredient labels properly to avoid any unnecessary reactions.