Common Eczema Triggers Explained: Tips to Avoid Flare-Ups & Care For Skin Prone to Mild Eczema
Eczema can present itself in different areas on the body, including on the face, hands, and chest. Whilst it is caused by a variety of contributing environmental and genetic conditions, there are ways to care for mild eczema-prone skin and keep your skin feeling soft, smoother, and healthy.
An Eczema Overview
Eczema presents itself differently on everyone, understanding and taking note of your skin’s triggers is a great first step to managing flare-ups. Note whether a flare-up coincides with when you may have experienced a change in weather, come in contact with harsh chemicals, or started wearing different fabrics. These different factors may interfere with your skin’s barrier, triggering symptoms.
The most effective care management plans for skin prone to mild eczema combine the right skincare routine with considered lifestyle choices, like wearing cotton or breathable fabrics (1). When experiencing an eczema flare-up, keeping the skin hydrated with nourishing skincare products, and avoiding exposure to any known triggers will help reduce reactivity to your already sensitive skin. Developed with dermatologists, the CeraVe Moisturising Cream provides 24-hour hydration for sensitive, dry and very dry skin. For those wanting a more lightweight moisturiser, the CeraVe Moisturising Lotion’s oil-free, non-greasy formula won’t clog pores.
For help identifying your triggers and managing eczema, consult with your dermatologist to develop a tailored skin care plan.
What Triggers Eczema?
• Wearing coarse fabrics like wool (2)
• Potent soaps, detergents, and cleaning supplies, especially ones containing artificial fragrances (2)
• Feeling stressed or anxious (3)
• Smoking (4)
• Taking long, very hot showers (2)
• Excess sweating (2)
• Experiencing abrupt changes in temperature and humidity. (2)
Common Eczema Triggers Explained
Whilst every person is different, dermatologists have identified a few key triggers that can intensify an existing genetic predisposition to eczema.4
If you are wondering what causes eczema to flare-up, below is a brief explanation of the most common triggers:
Dry skin: Maintaining hydrated skin is a top priority for those with eczema as when skin becomes dehydrated it’s more likely to experience a flare-up.5 Hydrate your skin with nourishing and gentle products like the CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream which is suitable for use on mild eczema-prone skin.
Irritants: Harsh chemicals can contribute to an eczema flare-up as they disrupt the skin’s protective barrier. These irritants can be found in cleaning products like detergents and soaps.It’s important to be aware of what comes in contact with your skin as seemingly neutral products like wearing polyester or wool, and touching certain fruits, vegetables and meats can trigger eczema.2 4
Weather: Sudden drops or changes in environmental conditions can lead to an eczema flare-up which can then be further exacerbated by excessive sweating in summer, and dry skin caused during winter.6
Allergens: Allergens like pollen, dust mites, mould, and pet dander can sometimes be an eczema trigger for people.7
Stress: Experiencing additional emotional stress can be an eczema trigger. When under stress, the body produces additional cortisol, a hormone linked to the ‘fight or flight’ response, which can sometimes result in heightened eczema symptoms.3
Infections: When skin infections occur, the body is busy fighting bacteria and viruses. This extra pressure on the immune system may cause eczema symptoms to worsen, which is why it’s important to always consult a doctor or dermatologist when treating a microbial infection.8
Hormones: Eczema outbreaks are usually worsened with hormone fluctuations, making women especially susceptible to eczema flare-ups.9
How To Manage an Eczema Flare-Up
Once you have understood your triggers, there are ways to manage eczema flare-ups such as reducing your time in hot showers and being mindful of the fabrics and chemicals that come in contact with your skin. A useful eczema tip is to try wearing soft, natural fibres like cotton and silk as they allow the skin to breathe, minimizing the chances of an outbreak (1). Just as products that touch your skin can cause a reaction, the same is true for eczema food triggers. Some common foods to avoid are dairy, soy, wheat, and egg (4). Besides avoiding your eczema triggers, it is important to protect your skin, keeping it healthy and feeling comfortable. Choosing skincare products with nourishing ingredients that provide the skin with 24-hour hydration will help alleviate dryness. Skin care products which contain three essential ceramides will help strengthen your skin’s barrier. Always consult a doctor or dermatologist for expert advice on your individual circumstances and condition.
CeraVe products are endorsed by the Eczema Association Australasia Inc (EAA). Find skincare products that are suitable for use on dry, very dry, and mild eczema-prone skin below:
1. Sidbury R, Tom WL,et al. “Part 4: Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches.”J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul;71(1);1218-33.
3. Akdis CA, Akdis M, Bieber T, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of atopic dermatitis in children: European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology/American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology/PRACTALL Consensus Report.J Allerg Clin Immunol. 2006;118:152-169.
Oszukowska M, Michalak I, Gutfreund K, et al. Role of primary and secondary prevention in atopic dermatitis.Postep Derm Alergol. 2015;32(6):409-420.
5. Proksch, Ehrhardt et al. Journal of Dermatological Science, Volume 43, Issue 3, 159-169
6. Vocks, E., Busch, R., Fröhlich, C. et al. Int J Biometeorol (2001) 45: 27.
7. T. Ruzicka, B. Przybilla, J. Ring (2006) Handbook of Atopic Eczema; 2nd edition; Springer