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Common triggers of eczema

28th May 2015

Eczema is a very common inflammatory skin condition, resulting in red and itchy skin. Here are some of the common factors that can cause eczema to flare up, and how to reduce this from happening.

Perfumes and chemicals

Cosmetics and toiletries that contain perfumes or chemicals may trigger eczema, so avoid using them. Read product labels and opt for fragrance free or natural ingredients. Do a skin patch test first before trying a new product.

Detergents

Household detergents used for cleaning or washing may cause eczema to flare up, so wear gloves when using cleaning products. Choose a neutral, pH detergent for washing clothes, and use the double rinse cycle to make sure all of the soap has been removed.

Food 

Some food items can make eczema worse in a few people, with milk, soya, eggs, fish, wheat and nuts being the most likely culprits to cause problems. Cut out certain foods to identify which are the triggers, or visit the doctor to get tested for food allergies.

Temperature

Extremes of temperature may irritate eczema prone skin, so avoid getting too hot or too cold. Use moisturising creams to stop skin from drying out, especially during the winter.

Fabrics

Avoid wearing wool as this can trigger eczema. Instead, opt for loose-fitting cotton clothing which is smoother against the skin and less of an irritant.

Dust mites

Eczema symptoms are thought to be made worse, especially in children, when exposed to household dust mites. Although it's impossible to eradicate dust mites completely, minimising dust can help. Wash bed sheets weekly on a hot wash, and consider having wooden flooring rather than carpets.

If you think you might have eczema, consult a dermatologist for advice on how to treat and manage the condition. 

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