Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is an inflammation of the skin characterized by itchy red patches that can show up anywhere on the body. It’s estimated that 230 million people globally are affected by this common skin condition. Although its exact cause is still unknown, there are measures you can take to avoid some of the most common triggers of eczema flare-ups.
1. The Weather
In extreme weather conditions, either hot or cold, eczema symptoms can be exacerbated. In these conditions, it can be helpful to keep your skin covered when possible, and frequently moisturize using an ointment or cream specifically labeled for eczema relief.
2. Certain Types of Clothing
Clothing made out of particularly harsh or scratchy fabrics like wool or synthetic fibers can also irritate eczema. When possible, it’s best to avoid these types of clothing if you notice that they’re triggering flare-ups.
3. Dust Mites
Dust mites, present in your everyday household dust, can cause allergic reactions and irritate the skin. To avoid exposure to dust mites, try wet-vacuum cleaning over traditional dry-vacuum cleaning, and make sure your bedroom is as dust-free as possible. It can also be helpful to remove old carpeting and curtains that may contain lots of dust.
4. Food Allergies
Some food allergies have been shown to worsen eczema symptoms, especially in children. Even mild food allergies such as to eggs and milk can trigger these symptoms, so it’s important to keep a close eye on what you’re eating.
5. Detergents, Lotions and Cosmetics
Harsh ingredients in many detergents, lotions and cosmetics can also be problematic. When shopping for these products, choose those that are fragrance- and dye-free. When possible, it can also be a good idea to opt for natural alternatives to harsher chemical products.