Are you one of the millions who suffer from eczema? Have you tried just about every treatment in the book to reduce or relieve eczema? Are you aware of the common eczema triggers you need to avoid? In this article, we discuss what eczema is, common misconceptions, and the common triggers that cause a breakout.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is one of the most common skin diseases in the world. As a matter of fact, almost 30 million Americans are reported to have some type of eczema or skin disorder. Eczema is a name used to refer to a group of skin diseases or conditions that cause the skin to develop red and itchy patches and inflammations. There are many types of the condition including contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, nummular eczema and so on.
As opposed to common belief, eczema is actually quite manageable as long as the person affected steers clear of certain eczema triggers that irritate the condition. We’ll get into the triggers a little later.
The word eczema is said to have been derived from a Greek word that means “to boil over”. Because the severity of the condition, which can be mild, moderate or severe, the treatments for eczema are also different. It is most commonly seen among babies and children and it is very likely to get reduced and ultimately disappear with age. However, in certain cases, it can develop well into adulthood as well.
Another common misconception associated with eczema is that it is contagious. People normally have this misconception around skin diseases that can be seen or felt, like leprosy. However, both these diseases do not spread on “touch” or any other such topical contact. Especially eczema which is usually caused because of a combination of inherited genes and other environmental factors. That is precisely why any kind of “allergen” can be an eczema trigger that causes the immune system to act out.
From the pages of National Center for Biotechnology Information: Management of Atopic Eczema in Children
Eczema Triggers That Cause Flare-ups
A helpful article by National Eczema Org.: Top Advances Eczema
Coming to the symptoms, one of the most common ones is itchy skin. This itchiness is usually followed by red and inflamed skin, dry skin, dark patches on itchy areas, rough and scaly patches, oozing and swelling. Now you might have only a few of these symptoms or all of them.
Some Common Causes of Eczema
• Dry skin and sensitive skin that cracks
• Immune system dysfunction
• Environmental conditions
• Gene variation that affects the skin
• Allergies to foods, beauty products, laundry detergents or other chemical allergies
• Chronic stress
• Temperature changes
Common Eczema Triggers To Avoid Outbreaks
Here are some possible allergens or irritants that can trigger eczema. These are things that you need to stay away from:
Soaps and detergents –
Most soaps and detergents have a lot of sulfates and parabens in them that can totally strip your skin of its natural oils and in turn leave your skin feeling extremely dry, itchy and scaly. Natural or herbal soaps that don’t use sulfates could be better, but even then, being cleaning agents, they still can strip your skin. You could use natural cleaning agents or thick emollients in place of soap.
Perfumes use alcohol and other kinds of preservatives in them which can all cause irritated skin.
Extreme temperatures –
Extreme hot or extreme cold can be one of the worst eczema triggers. Even humidity can cause the skin to get too irritated.
This is a very common trigger when it comes to children. A lot of parents have found their children’s eczema getting worse when they were in contact with their pets. The cause could be animal dander which worsens the case. You can actually try to separate the child from the pet for a few good days to see the effect.
House mites and even dust can be a silent eczema trigger affecting your skin pretty badly. Even the slightest amount of dust can worsen the condition and the worst part is that whatever you try, there is NOT a lot you can do to prevent molecular dust particles? Even termites can be a bad trigger for eczema but that is at least something you can get rid of.
Other possible eczema triggers in women might even include pregnancy and hormonal changes right before your period. It can be that bad sometimes.
Not all of these things can be completely done away with, obviously, but you can reduce them to keep eczema at bay.
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