Common Triggers for Eczema (AD)
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
What might make it worse?
While this has not yet been widely accepted as a cure for eczema, it has been shown that certain diet changes have produced enormously positive effects on some patients.
Depending on changes in weather, your skin's hydration levels and moisture barrier strength can fluctuate. Taking good care of your skin during the winter season is key.
While exercise is beneficial for your body, your skin could have adverse reactions to certain aspects of exercise.
Stress plays a big role in most teenager's lives, and combined with puberty, stress can have very detrimental effects on your skin.
Changes in diet have not yet been medically proven in the Western world to help with symptoms of eczema, but is a very common method in the East, and has anecdotally led to extremely promising results for many eczema sufferers.
TYPES OF DIETS
As the name suggests, this diet cuts gluten out.
Because gluten is a protein that can cause harm to your gut lining, removing it can treat inflammation and digestive issues.
This diet cuts out FODMAPS. FODMAPS are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide and polyols.
Removing FODMAPS from your diet can help digestion, and can by extension have beneficial effects on eczema.
This type of diet removes all non-fresh foods, then slowly adds in components every 3-4 weeks, one by one.
This elimination diet tests for allergens or food sensitivities that might be affecting your eczema, and it lets you know which foods might be worsening your condition.
Some commonalities seen through all of these diets, is avoiding processed foods, gluten, trying to eat mainly fresh foods, and working to feed your gut microbiome, which helps prevent a 'leaky gut'. Besides these diets, there are also histamine-free and salicylate-free diets that might improve your eczema.
The Sun provides you with your Vitamin D, but heat from the Sun and its UV rays can be very harmful to your skin in longer periods of time. Make sure to apply sunscreen every 2 hours, and stay away from the Sun whenever possible. It is also known that there are some types of eczema that can be catalyzed by excess UV rays from the Sun, so if you feel any adverse reactions such as hives, or increased itching, be sure to stay away from the Sun as much as possible.
Cold weather often comes with dryer air, and worser symptoms. Some cautions to take: Radiators make the air more dry, so putting bowls of water near them will offset the drying, and help improve your dehydrated skin. Systematic ventilation is key: dust mites and mold may worsen eczema symptoms.
Finally, using humectant cream every day several times will help draw moisture from the dermis and the air, to the epidermis, better hydrating your skin.
One rule you should follow is: DO NOT swim if your skin is red/irritated and infected. While chlorine is a diluted form of bleach, it can have harmful effects on the skin, and create burning/itching sensations. This results in inevitable drying, flaking, irritation...etc of the skin. If you are going to swim, apply emollient first, to protect your skin from drying out.
After swimming, immediately shower to wash off any remaining chlorine on the skin.
Keep in mind, that chlorine fumes are present outside the swimming pool as well, so try not to linger by the pool unnecessarily.
On the other hand, swimming in the ocean is much safer than swimming in chlorinated pools. However, if you have irritated or infected skin, it might still cause some pain in affected areas.
There are many reasons why exercise helps eczema. It boosts energy levels and the immune system, lowers stress, depression and anxiety, and helps you get a better night’s sleep. The downside of exercising with eczema is the fact that sweat can trigger flare-ups in some people. The body sweats in order to regulate body temperature. When we get hot and sweaty, the moisture evaporates, cooling us down. As the sweat evaporates, the skin dries out and is left with a salty residue that can irritate eczema skin and bring on the itch.
You can take a shower immediately after exercising to rinse off the sweat. Just make sure the water is cold or lukewarm, as hot water tends to dry out the skin.
Stress can make skin problems worse. For example, it can aggravate psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema, causing hives and other types of skin rashes.
It can also interfere with daily skin care. If you’re stressed, you might skimp on this part of your daily routine, which can aggravate skin issues.
Ways to Ease the Effects of Stress on Your Skin:
Don't neglect your skin. Take care of it, even if you're tired or stressed.
Get regular exercise. It's good for your skin and the rest of your body.
Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy.
Practice stress management techniques, such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or visual imagery.
Get enough sleep. Seven to 8 hours each night is ideal.
Talk to someone. Seek support from a friend or a professional therapist.
In the NES landmark 2020 patient survey Eczema Unmasked, people said stress was the single biggest trigger of their eczema flare-ups, with significantly more women (57%) affected than men (41%). As well as contributing to inflammation throughout the body, stress hampers the skin’s ability to repair.