My son just turned seven and he is still eczema free, we got rid of his eczema 7 years ago and we are so happy, but so many people suffer and I love it when I am able to help one more person get this horrible skin condition under control. You can hear my story and learn more.
Eczema causes are many and varied It largely depend on the particular type of eczema that a person has. Atopic eczema is thought to be caused by a family history of allergic conditions, while other types of eczema are caused by irritants and allergens. It is important to know what triggers a flare-up, so that you can try to avoid these triggers.
For many people who suffer with eczema, there seems to be no apparent reason for a flare-up. However, there are several factors that are known to aggravate eczema and some of the possible triggers and irritants are listed below with tips on how to avoid them.
House Dust Mites
House dust mites thrive in moist and damp environments and feed on flakes of shed human skin. Dust mites are so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye. They love to live in places such as your bed, furniture, soft toys, soft furnishings and carpets. There are various steps you can take in order to get rid of dust mites:
- Use a dust mite cover for your mattress
- Buy a latex mattress which is mold and dust mite resistant
- Use a non-toxic, chemical-free, hypo-allergenic pillow. Dust mites don’t like this.
- Get rid of carpets and have wooden floors
- Regularly use a vacuum cleaner with an allergen filter.
- Use a damp-cloth when cleaning surfaces
- Wash bedding regularly in hot water (55 degrees C or higher)
- Avoid furry toys and soft furnishings since these trap dust
- Keep your house well ventilated.
Many people have an allergy to animals, causing problems such as asthma, wheezing and runny nose. It has been found that contact with furry animals can increase the risk of developing eczema. If this is the case then you should:
- Avoid having contact with animals, especially of the furry kind. Many people have an allergic response to the animal’s fur and dander
- If you have a dog, make sure that you shampoo him regularly
- Try removing your pet to another home for a while to see if symptoms improve
- Keep your house free from fur and dust.
Certain types of material can cause skin irritation. In order to avoid uncomfortable itching, you should:
- Wear clothing which allows the skin to breathe.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting or heavy materials that makes you hot and itchy
- Ideally wear 100% cotton clothing, but other smooth man-made materials such as soft acrylic and viyella may also be fine
- In summer wear cool, loose-fitting clothing
- In winter wear cotton clothes next to your skin and warmer fabrics over the top.
Toiletries and Detergents
Toiletries and detergents use thousands and thousands of different chemicals. Constant exposure to these chemicals can cause an allergic response. The best thing you can do is to avoid exposing yourself to these chemicals by:
- Using vegetable- and glycerine-based soaps and mild shampoos
- Using products which are 100% free of synthetic chemicals such as perfumes, alcohols and preservatives
- Washing clothes with a non-biological laundry product. Biological products contain enzymes which can cause itchiness and irritation. Powdered laundry products contain bleach which can also cause irritation to the skin. Try using liquid laundry cleaners since they do not contain bleach.
- Wear rubber gloves with a cotton lining when using detergents or working with other similar chemicals.
Other possible factors which may trigger symptoms, or aggravate symptoms, include pollens, fungi and moulds, particular foods, tobacco smoke and extremes of temperature.
Now that you are aware of these possible triggers for eczema, you can try to avoid or reduce your exposure to them.