Eczema affects millions of Americans, including kids and adults. Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema causes red, itchy, dry, flaky patches on your skin, with symptoms that can take a toll on your physical comfort and your emotional well-being.
In addition, eczema symptoms tend to get worse in response to specific triggers. Managing these flare-ups is essential for keeping your skin healthy, and that means learning how to identify the most common triggers so you can take steps to avoid them.
With offices in Arcadia, Miami, Bradenton, Homestead, Sarasota, Venice, Longboat Key, Bradenton, and Northport, Florida, and Midwest City, Oklahoma, Luminary Dermatology helps patients manage eczema symptoms and avoid flare-ups.
In this post, our team offers six simple ways to avoid triggers that can exacerbate your symptoms.
Hot air, humidity, and sweat can all contribute to an increase in eczema symptoms. Does that mean you should avoid physical activity during the warm summer months? No. You can still enjoy all the fun of summer — just take a few extra steps to protect your skin.
For example, take breaks during activities, stay in the shade when possible, sip ice water, and try to schedule activities for the cooler hours of the day (or at an indoor, air-conditioned gym). Swimming is one way to stay cool while getting exercise, but be sure to use plenty of sunscreen and take a shower afterward to remove chlorine.
Dry skin is more easily irritated, leading to an increase in eczema flare-ups. At the same time, eczema causes the skin to break down, leading to tiny cracks that let even more moisture escape.
Using moisturizer on a regular basis helps your skin stay soft and supple, reducing dryness that can lead to eczema symptoms. Be sure to choose a gentle moisturizer approved for use on sensitive skin. We can recommend brands that are ideal for your needs
Hot baths and showers drain your skin’s natural oils, making your skin drier and more likely to become irritated. Hot tubs and saunas have the same effect.
To reduce the impact of this trigger, opt for lukewarm baths and showers to avoid overdrying, and keep your time in the water to a minimum. Afterward, gently pat — don’t rub — your skin dry with a soft, absorbent towel, and layer on the moisturizer while skin is still damp.
Body wash, shampoo, soap, fabric softeners, and laundry detergent often feature an array of chemicals, including natural and artificial compounds that can irritate your skin. Always choose mild products, and ask our team to recommend brands that are less likely to cause irritation.
Soaps, body sprays, and detergents aren’t the only potential products that can irritate your skin. Many people find certain fabrics cause flares, too, especially “itchy” fabrics like wool or some synthetics.
Another common trigger for eczema symptoms, stress releases hormones that suppress the immune system, causing skin to become irritated and inflamed. Doing all you can to manage stress can help reduce flare-ups — and provide benefits to your overall wellness, too.
Meditation and yoga are two familiar ways to manage stress, but other effective options include deep breathing, “box” breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. Even simple things, like taking a walk or spending daily “me” time doing something you enjoy, can be very effective in helping reduce stress — and flare-ups, too.
While the items on this list are widely associated with flare-ups for many people with eczema, most people have personal triggers, as well. Figuring out what those triggers are is an important step in keeping your flare-ups under control.
Our team can help you identify potential triggers in your own life, but keeping track of your symptoms is also important. The National Eczema Association offers a handy app you can run on your computer or phone to make trigger-tracking a lot easier.
Eczema is physically uncomfortable, and the red, patchy skin it causes can take an emotional toll, too. Fortunately, we offer custom eczema treatment plans aimed at improving your symptoms and your skin health. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Luminary Dermatology today.