If you have eczema, you’ve got company – over 50 million Americans are believed to have this painful, often embarrassing condition. At West Dermatology, our expert skin specialists understand the physical and emotional toll that eczema can inflict. While there’s not yet a cure, there are ways to avoid the flare-ups.
Currently, doctors and researchers still have no conclusive answer for what causes eczema, although it is known that everyone has “triggers” that can induce a flare-up.
Hormonal changes and genetics are among the most common factors. If you have eczema, then the chances that your child will have it increases. Stress is also a factor, as it is for many common health issues.
However, the causes and triggers vary from person to person. If you know your triggers, it’s best to avoid them; however, if you don’t know your eczema triggers, you can schedule an appointment with West Dermatology to determine what yours are.
In the meantime, here are five everyday things you may be doing that are making your eczema worse.
1. Watch What You Put On
From cosmetics to clothes, what you’re wearing might be exacerbating your eczema. If your cosmetics have lanolin, alcohol, fragrance, or preservatives, ditch them because they could be triggering your flare-ups. Purchase cosmetics that are “fragrance-free” instead of “unscented,” as unscented most likely means that a fragrance is being cloaked by another ingredient.
As for clothes, avoid rough materials, such as wool or synthetics. Cotton is usually gentler on your skin, so choose cotton garments when you can. Furthermore, tight-fitting clothing could be responsible for irritating the skin. Loose-fitting clothes, on the other hand, offer eczema relief by allowing your skin to breathe. Finally, remove tags and launder new clothes before wearing them as the dyes and formaldehyde in newly purchased clothing and the tags themselves are common irritants. When washing your clothes, choose a dermatology recommended detergent that does not contain fragrances.
2. Don’t Get Into Hot Water
After a long day, a long soak in a hot bath is the perfect ending – but not if you have eczema. Yes, it’s tragic that one of the most relaxing, beneficial, and necessary parts of your day might be exacerbating your condition. Unfortunately, though, hot water can irritate and dehydrate your skin, which can cause your eczema to flare up.
Instead of hot water, use warm water. Instead of a long bath or shower, shorten it. Do your business and get out. When you dry your skin, be gentle; pat your skin dry instead of rubbing the towel across your skin. Afterward, while your skin is still damp, liberally apply a rich moisturizing cream or lotion to help your skin retain its moisture. Baby oil is also great to lock in moisture.
3. Watch What You Put Into Your Body
People with eczema often have food allergies that can trigger flare-ups. If you don’t know which foods you are allergic to, at West Dermatology, we can administer several types of tests to diagnose any allergies that you might not know you have. Everyday foods that are common eczema triggers include the following:
- Fruit juice
- Vegetable juice
4. Cold Weather
Cold weather commonly causes your skin to be dry and itchy. If you have eczema, your skin is already more vulnerable to cracking and dryness but the cold makes it worse, especially if the ambient relative humidity is below 30%. In this case, moisturizers are essential for eczema relief.
However, it’s not just the cold; it’s also how you, like many people, respond to plummeting temperatures – by turning up the heat. Don’t overdo it, though, because that often lowers the ambient humidity inside your home or office. If you must turn up the heater, use a humidifier at the same time to keep the humidity around the 50% level.
5. Avoid Dust-Ups
It’s thought that dust and subsequent dust mites are eczema triggers, so you should regularly clean your bed linens, carpets, rugs, blinds, and curtains. Wash your linens and curtains once a week in hot water with gentle, chemical- or fragrance-free detergents. Also, clean your carpet thoroughly and frequently to eliminate accumulated dust and dander.
Children are particularly vulnerable to dust and dust mites, so if your child has eczema, keeping your house clean, as well as his or her room, will help mitigate symptoms.
Getting Dry, Itchy Skin Relief
Understanding your triggers is one of the most important aspects in knowing how to relieve eczema. Another crucial aspect is remembering that, since there’s no cure, the goal of any treatment plan is to manage and relieve your symptoms. The following are common tips for getting the eczema relief you need.
- Topical creams are very effective for relieving dry, cracked skin. Your dermatologist can recommend moisturizing creams that would be best for your specific skin condition.
- Cold compresses offer great relief in areas where your itching is most severe.
- Antibiotics may be effective if you have an infection, but only temporarily because they target all bacteria, not just the bad ones causing your symptoms. If beneficial bacteria are destroyed, it compromises your immune system.
- Antihistamines can treat your itchiness, not your skin or other aspects of your eczema. Research is still ongoing to understand how beneficial antihistamines really are for eczema patients.
Learn about more potential treatments at WebMD.com.
To Learn More about Eczema, Contact West Dermatology Today!
There may not be a cure for eczema, but you can manage the uncomfortable condition so that it doesn’t adversely affect your life. If you’re dealing with eczema, contact West Dermatology today by contacting us online or calling (702) 933-0225.
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