24 Jul Eczema Triggers
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that manifests as patches of skin that are cracked, crusted, red, scaly, itchy, swollen and/or inflamed. Less common are blisters and bumps. Although there is no cure, there are treatments that help to improve the symptoms and prevent infection. For example, corticosteroid cream, antihistamines, antibiotics and light therapy.
Usually, eczema flares up then subsides. It can go into remission for weeks, months or even years. Sometimes children age out of it altogether. The way to stave off those flares is to know and avoid the triggers. Not everyone reacts to every trigger. You may recognize yours among the common triggers that we describe below.
May be found in household cleaners and personal care products, such as:
- Formaldehyde – in disinfectants, some vaccines, glues and adhesives.
- Isothiazolinones – an antibacterial agent in personal care products e.g. baby wipes.
- Cocamidopropyl betaine- used to thicken shampoos and lotions.
- Paraphenylenediamine – in leather dyes and temporary tattoos.
- Cosmetics that contain alcohol, perfumes, lanolin or preservatives.
Sunburn is certainly a trigger, so the skin needs to be protected with sunscreen. But be aware that some chemical sunscreens contain triggers. Play it safe by using a sunscreen with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients.
People with eczema have a skin barrier that is not intact. This makes skin infection more likely to occur in these individuals. The most common skin infections are staph, warts, molluscum, herpes and fungal infections.
Exposure to allergens, e.g. dust mites, mold, seasonal pollen, pet dander from cats and dogs, and dandruff. Allergies are also caused by food such as milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat and fish.
5) Hot Showers
Exposing the skin to hot water for long periods when bathing or showering. The hot water dries out the skin and makes it more itchy. Bathe no more than once a day and for no more than 10 minutes in lukewarm water. Be sure to moisturize you skin right after you shower.
6) Scratching the skin
Scratching can cause a flare-up. Keep your skin moisturized. Also, keep your nails smooth and trimmed so that scratching is not so sharp. Consider wearing cotton gloves at night.
Wool and synthetic fibers such as polyester have an abrasive nature that irritates the skin. Wear cotton clothes or any material that is smooth next to the skin.
8) Extreme Temperatures
Some people experience flare-ups when it is very cold; others when it is very hot. In addition, sweating from either hot weather or exercise can result in a flare-up.
Anger, stress, frustration and embarrassment can cause the skin to flush. This then triggers eczema. Stress also affects hormone levels and the immune system and intensifies the symptoms.
For a knowledgeable consultation contact us or book an appointment online now. Our lead physician, Dr. Ife J. Rodney MD, FAAD is a top medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatologist. We are conveniently located in Fulton, MD. We serve Columbia MD, Clarksville, Silver Spring, Laurel, Ellicott City and surrounding areas in Howard County, Maryland.