Understanding the Triggers in Eczema

There are many types of eczema. The condition can occur on any part of the body and results in inflammation of the skin with itching. Sometimes dryness and scaling, weeping, blistering and thickening of the skin may be seen.

The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. This is a genetic skin condition often seen in association with asthma and/or hay fever in the patient or their family.  There are many triggers in eczema. They vary by person and by type of eczema.

Below are some of the more common triggers known to be involved in eczema:

  • Allergies – these can be divided into food and inhalant allergies. Inhalant allergies include pollens, grasses, animal hair, and dust. There may be a seasonal component to these allergies, for example, certain types of pollens during spring.
  • Dietary triggers – certain foods may exacerbate eczema by means of their histamine content or histamine-inducing action, or their dehydrating effect on the body. Some foods contain super antigens which make eczema worse. Inversely, certain foods may help eczema improve.
  • Heat and Cold – Both of these triggers are common in eczema, not only does the climate play a role but also air conditioning, which may dry out and exacerbate eczema
  • Stress – A very common triggers in people over the age of 13, emotional stress is often the single biggest trigger in many types of eczema.
  • Chemicals – Any chemical may cause a flare of eczema, but the better-known ones are strong soaps, swimming pool chlorine, and washing detergents.
  • Teething in children – another very common trigger of atopic eczema in children, teething may cause significant flares of otherwise well-controlled eczema in infants and toddlers.
  • Infections, diseases, and fevers – eczema flares are often preceded by infections in children and adults, for example, ear infections and tonsillitis.
  • Hormonal triggers – in women, some patients report their eczema flaring certain times of the month or during the menopause.

For eczema to be managed effectively, it is vital that a person understands their specific triggers and take action to control them. If done well, this can help to keep the condition dormant, or very mild.

At the Psoriasis Eczema, we help patients achieve remission of their skin condition by helping them to identify their triggers.

Phillip Bayer (Practitioner at Psoriasis Eczema Clinic)


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