Eczema is an umbrella term that refers to several different conditions, but they all involve irritated, inflamed, itchy skin. Most of them are related to specific triggers. Understanding your triggers can help you avoid flare-ups.

The most common type of eczema is called atopic dermatitis, and researchers aren’t sure why some people develop it. What we do know is that it happens as a result of interaction between your environment and your genes — in other words, your DNA and where you live, both geographically and your habitat, lead to skin irritation.  

The providers at kalon Dermatology treat patients with eczema regularly. We have put together this list of things you can do at home to help you avoid situations and products that can trigger a flare-up and lead to itchy, irritated skin.  

Triggers and flares, explained

Before we get to the tips, we want to be clear about what we mean by a “trigger” and a “flare-up.”  A trigger is a situation or irritant that causes your skin to become inflamed, itchy, and irritated—which is a flare-up, or flare.

If you can identify and limit your exposure to your triggers, you may be able to enjoy less itching and fewer rashes. Although some pharmaceutical treatments for eczema are available, we advocate for avoiding triggers as your first line of defense.  

Consider your surroundings

One form of eczema is called contact dermatitis, and it happens when you come into contact with something that irritates your skin. For example, cleaning products are often a trigger. Wearing gloves can be helpful.

Often, environmental triggers are things you encounter at work, especially if your job requires you to use products that contain chemicals, like dyes, cleaning solutions, and others. Again, gloves may be helpful.

The larger environment 

Some people tend to have seasonal flares, so where you live could be contributing to your eczema. If you live in a place that gets extremely cold or is often very humid, and you have flares at certain times every year, extreme weather conditions could be a trigger for you.

You can’t control the weather, but you can try to make sure the inside of your home is comfortable. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, and use moisturizers often.

Dry skin 

When your skin gets dry, it’s much more prone to flares. Dry skin is brittle, tight, and easily damaged.

Discuss what moisturizers are safe to use with your provider, and then be vigilant about keeping your skin supple and hydrated.  

Understand other health conditions

Researchers don’t fully understand the relationship among allergies, asthma, and eczema, but they do know that the three conditions are associated. If you have allergies, work closely with your allergist to keep them under control, and the same goes for asthma.  

Treating other health conditions can help limit eczema flares.  

Get help

If you’re struggling to understand your triggers, call or message our Brooklyn, New York, office to schedule an appointment with one of the outstanding providers at kalon Dermatology. We can help you work to avoid things that cause flares, and we can provide treatment when you do have a flare.

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