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Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, red, and swollen patches of skin. The most common type is called atopic dermatitis. Everyday things in your environment — cigarette smoke, pollen, and even your clothes — can cause eczema to flare. Identifying and avoiding your personal eczema trigger, or triggers, is an important part of your overall eczema treatment plan.
2 / 13 Avoid the Cold
When the mercury plunges, it could cause eczema symptoms to spike. In many people, extreme cold can cause eczema breakouts because skin becomes too dry. Moisturizers are an important eczema treatment, especially in cold weather. They help keep skin from drying out, cracking, and itching. In the winter, a moisturizing ointment is most effective in preventing moisture loss. Use a humidifier to add moisture to dry indoor air. Aim for humidity levels of 45-55 percent.
3 / 13 Clear the Dust
Some studies have shown that dust mites can cause eczema, especially in kids. Keeping these eczema triggers to a minimum in your child’s room may help keep the itchy rash away. To achieve this, getting rid of carpeting, rugs, and blinds — all of which hold a lot of dust — washing bed linens and curtains weekly in hot water, and giving the entire room a thorough cleaning once a week should be a part of your eczema treatment plan.
4 / 13 Make Over Your Wardrobe
Garments made of wool, synthetics, or other rough materials can be eczema triggers. Choose loose-fitting cotton clothes instead — they are less likely to cause eczema symptoms to flare-up. But before you put on those new clothes, wash them to get rid of dye residue or other irritants. Tags can irritate your skin, too, so make sure to cut them out of clothes.
5 / 13 Be Choosy About Detergent
Harsh ingredients in some laundry detergents can cause eczema symptoms. A fragrance-free, neutral pH detergent may be easier on your clothes and your skin. Then make sure you get all the soap out of your clothes by choosing the double rinse cycle. Be careful with other household cleansers, too. As part of your eczema treatment, look for natural alternatives for products with harsh ingredients. Wear rubber gloves if you have to use an item that may contain an eczema trigger.
6 / 13 Sideline Stress
Stress can be an eczema trigger in some people. It’s nearly impossible to remove all stress from your life, but a few tried-and-true techniques may help you get the upper hand. Deep breathing, yoga, and joining a support group are a few options. Sticking to your eczema treatment plan will help keep flares under control, especially when you are stressed.
7 / 13 Turn Down the Heat
The summer months are usually given a warm welcome, but not by many people working on their eczema treatment. Heat and humidity are common eczema triggers. Stay inside air conditioned rooms as much as possible if this is one of your triggers. When you’re outside, take steps to avoid getting overheated and sweating — eczema triggers for many. Find a shady spot to beat the heat and keep your cool.
8 / 13 Watch What You’re Eating
Food allergies could cause eczema symptoms in people with atopic dermatitis, so talk to your doctor if you suspect this. There are several tests doctors use to diagnose food allergies, including skin prick tests and blood tests. However, a food challenge is the only way doctors can tell for sure if a food allergy is an eczema trigger. In a doctor’s office or hospital, you eat a suspicious food and doctors watch for signs of eczema, like redness or wheals.
9 / 13 Avoid Pollen
When spring is in the air, unfortunately, pollen is too. For people with atopic dermatitis, this is a common eczema trigger. Stay indoors when pollen counts are really high and keep your windows closed. If you have to go outside, take a quick shower when you come in to remove pollen from your skin and hair, and wash your clothes. Ask your doctor about whether to add an antihistamine to your treatment for eczema.
10 / 13 Check Your Cosmetic Bag
Finding cosmetics that don’t aggravate eczema can be challenging. Products containing alcohol, perfumes, lanolin, or preservatives tend to cause eczema breakouts in many people. Carefully check labels. “Unscented” does not mean the product does not contain fragrance; it could mean the fragrance is masked. Look for “fragrance-free” instead. When trying out a new cosmetic, cleanser, or lotion, test it out on a small patch of skin before applying it all over to help identify eczema triggers.
11 / 13 Banish Pet Dander
Your furry and feathered friends are cherished family members, but they can also cause eczema to flare. It may be best to keep pets outside. If you let them in, keep animals off sofas and chairs and ban them from the bedroom. Frequent vacuuming of carpet and rugs may help keep a handle on pet dander, a common eczema trigger. Regular bathing and grooming of pets may also make your treatment for eczema more effective.
12 / 13 Stay Out of Hot Water
A long, hot bath might be relaxing at the end of the day, but avoid the temptation of this potential eczema trigger. Keep showers or baths as short as possible and use only warm water. Hot water can irritate skin and cause eczema to flare. Be gentle on your skin — don’t scrub or rub too hard. Pat skin dry with a towel. While you’re still damp, apply a rich moisturizer to trap moisture in the skin — an essential part of treatment for eczema.
13 / 13 Snuff Out Smokes
You know that smoking is linked to lung cancer and other health problems. But did you know tobacco smoke can cause eczema symptoms to worsen? So if you smoke and live with a person with eczema, consider quitting. There’s no cure for eczema, but in many cases, it eventually clears up. For others, it’s a life-long condition. You can manage it effectively if you stick to your eczema treatment plan and avoid eczema triggers.