How to Determine (and Avoid) Your Eczema Triggers

Oct 10, 2023
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Eczema affects millions of people, including both adults and kids. Understanding what triggers your symptoms can help you manage them more effectively. Here’s what you can do to help your skin stay healthy.

According to data from the American Academy of Dermatology, about one out of every ten people will develop eczema (atopic dermatitis) during their lifetimes, making it one of the most common skin conditions — and one of the most bothersome. Eczema is a chronic condition that weakens your skin’s natural moisture barrier, causing dry, itchy, scaly patches of skin.

Eczema can affect people of all ages, including infants. Symptoms tend to worsen in response to specific “triggers,” and knowing how to manage (or avoid) those triggers is one simple way to minimize your discomfort.

The team at Southwest Michigan Dermatology uses a combination of medications and lifestyle guidance to treat eczema in patients from Portage, Michigan. In this post, learn how to identify your triggers, along with steps you can take to keep your skin healthy. 

Quick facts about eczema

Eczema often develops during childhood; for many people, it clears up before adulthood. But it can also occur during adulthood, especially if you had eczema as a child.

Dry, scaly, inflamed patches of skin are the hallmarks of eczema, but it can cause other symptoms, too. You might notice rash-like bumps on your skin or thick, leathery patches. Scratching your skin might bleed or ooze, forming a yellowish crust and increasing your risk of skin infections. Some people find their dry, flaky skin patches sore or swollen.

While researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes eczema, they think it’s likely a combination of factors, including your immune system, genetics, and environment. During your initial evaluation, we’ll ask many questions about your personal and family medical histories, including whether you or your close relatives have eczema, allergies, or asthma.

Identifying eczema triggers

Like other skin conditions, eczema affects different people in different ways. That means that what triggers symptoms in one person may not trigger your symptoms. Identifying your triggers is an essential key to managing flare-ups and minimizing discomfort.

Some of the most common eczema triggers include:

  • Changes in temperature
  • Dry air
  • Smoke and air pollution
  • Soaps and skincare products
  • Laundry products
  • Makeup
  • “scratchy” fabrics, like wool
  • Stress or illness

Some people’s symptoms can be triggered by food sensitivities or allergies to plants, pets, or other substances.

One of the best ways to identify your triggers is to keep an eczema journal. Your journal provides a way to track your symptoms to identify potential triggers in your habits or environment.

Managing symptoms and improving skin health

In addition to avoiding your triggers, many treatment options can help relieve dry skin and itching while helping your skin stay healthy. Depending on your symptoms, we may suggest:

  • Topical medications
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Medicated shampoos or body washes
  • Allergy medications
  • Medication to control itching

We also offer light therapy to treat eczema symptoms that are widespread or localized to specific areas, like your hands or feet. 

In addition to medical treatment, our team can suggest lifestyle changes, like limiting hot showers, using the correct type of moisturizers, and avoiding direct sun exposure. Your treatment plan will be tailored to your skin’s unique needs.

Don’t let eczema take a toll on your comfort, wellness, or confidence. To learn how we can help, call 269-321-7546 or request an appointment online at Southwest Michigan Dermatology today.