What Causes An Eczema Flare
Triggers arenât the same for everyone, and there may be a lag between the trigger and the symptoms. Sweat, fabrics , pet dander, hot or cold weather, and harsh soaps are common triggers. Others include:
- Dry skin. It could get scaly, tight, and easy to crack, which can lead to a flare-up.
- Stress. For some people, emotional stress can trigger eczema symptoms. Doctors donât know exactly why this is, but there are ways to help lessen the stress in your life, from mind-body and meditation techniques, to lifestyle changes, to therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy. Talk to your health care provider about how to reduce stress if itâs a trigger for your eczema.
- Irritants. These could include household items like hand and dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, body wash, or home cleaners and disinfectants. Juice from fruit, vegetables, and even meats can act as triggers in some people. Other common irritants include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Antibacterial ointment like neomycin and bacitracin
- Cocamidopropyl betaine
- Isothiazolinone (antibacterial in baby wipes and other personal products
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema
- How can you tell that I have eczema?
- If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
- Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
- Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
- How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
- What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
- What medications do you recommend?
- What at-home treatments do you recommend?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.
Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.
Eczema Around The Eye
When eczema occurs on the face, it often affects the skin around the eyes or eyelids . Eczema that develops near the eyes needs special attention because the eyes themselves can be affected.
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Types Of Facial Eczema
Eczema is actually a term for a group of conditions that cause itchy, red, and inflamed skin rashes. The types of eczema that are most likely to appear on the face are:
- Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema overall. It is very common on the cheeks and chin, especially in infants. It can also appear around the eyes, on the eyelids, and around the lips. It can, however, occur anywhere on the face or the rest of the body.
- Contact dermatitis: This is also a common type of eczema. It is a skin reaction to a specific irritant. On the face, it is usually found around the eyes, the hairline, and in areas that contact perfumes and jewelry, like the neck and earlobes. But, like atopic dermatitis, this type of eczema can occur anywhere.
- Seborrheic dermatitis: This type most often occurs around the hairline, in the eyebrows, around the ears, and on the sides of the nose.
- Small blisters that may weep or ooze
- Cracked skin that may bleed
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The skin may also feel sore and raw during a flare-up. If eczema lasts long, the skin can eventually become thick, discolored, or scarred.
Nearly 30 million people live with eczema in the United States, and it impacts everyone differently. Some people may experience minor flare-ups, where their skin becomes mildly itchy. For others, flare-ups involve severe itching, dryness or oozing, and bleeding.
Q : Where Can More Information Be Obtained
Nip Allergies in the Bub
Patient support organisations : www.allergy.org.au/patients/patient-support-organisations
ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand
ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.
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Things Your Eczema Can Tell You About Your Health
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches of skin. Although it can happen at any age, its onset is more common in childhood and is referred to as atopic dermatitis. Eczema, however, can occur at any age.
People with eczema dont always have irritated skin. They can experience flaring followed by periods of remission. You may be surprised to learn that the underlying causes of eczema can reveal important information about your health.
How Is Eczema Treated What Medications Are Used
Treating eczema can be difficult if the cause is something you cant control, like genetics. Fortunately, you may have some influence over your environment and stress levels. Do your best to figure out what triggers or worsens your eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.
Consider these treatment tips:
If your child has skin problems, such as eczema, you can:
- Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry the skin. Use lukewarm water instead and give your child sponge baths.
- Apply lotion immediately after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
- Keep the room temperature as regular as possible. Changes in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
- Keep your child dressed in cotton. Wool, silk and manmade fabrics such as polyester can irritate the skin.
- Use mild laundry soap and make sure that clothes are well rinsed.
- Watch for skin infections. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice an infection.
- Help them avoid rubbing or scratching the rash.
- Use moisturizers several times daily. In infants with eczema, moisturizing on a regular basis is extremely helpful.
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When To Speak With A Doctor
A person should see their doctor if they suspect they have a skin infection. This is particularly true when the infection develops in an area where their eczema tends to flare up.
If a person has noticed their eczema has worsened or is no longer responding to their usual treatment, they may benefit from speaking with a doctor or dermatologist.
A dermatologist can help a person identify the type of eczema they have and prescribe treatments that may be more effective. They can also refer someone for diagnostic tests, such as allergy testing, if necessary.
If a rash appears suddenly, spreads quickly, or shows signs of infection, see a doctor as soon as possible.
General Tips For Coping With Eczema
Other tips to manage your eczema include:
- Keep your fingernails short longer nails are more likely to injure your skin when you scratch.
- If the water in your area is hard or alkaline, consider installing a water-softening device.
- Swim in the sea in warm weather whenever you can seawater is known to reduce the symptoms of eczema.
- Use sun exposure for limited periods for example, when swimming at the beach. This can help relieve eczema symptoms. But be aware that ultraviolet radiation is a risk factor for skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin. Also, if sun exposure causes overheating, this can also aggravate eczema.
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What Questions Might My Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Eczema
The conversation with your healthcare provider will need to cover a lot of information. Be sure to be specific about your symptoms.
- Where is your eczema located?
- What have you used to try to treat your eczema?
- What medical conditions do you have? Allergies? Asthma?
- Is there a history of eczema in your family?
- How long have you had symptoms of eczema?
- Do you take hot showers?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- Have you noticed that something triggers or worsens your eczema? Soaps? Detergents? Cigarette smoke?
- Is there so much itchiness that you have trouble sleeping? Working? Living your normal life?
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Dealing With Severe Eczema Stress And Isolation
If your eczema is widespread and severe, you will need to be under the care of a consultant dermatologist, who will be able to assess your suitability for stronger treatments such as phototherapy or systemic immunosuppressants.
If your eczema could be attributed to stress, you might benefit from seeking out additional sources of emotional support. Your GP will be able to signpost you to local counselling services, or you could look for a counsellor at . You might also like to approach your local Mind , as many branches offer free or low-cost counselling sessions.
The Silver Line is another source of support. The Silver Line is a free confidential Helpline providing information, friendship and support to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Silver Lines phone number is 0800 4 70 80 90 and their website address is www.thesilverline.org.uk.
If youre feeling lonely, you might also consider joining a local club or interest group.
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How Stress May Trigger Eczema
When considering the relation between stress and eczema, it has been suggested that stress results in a spike in the hormone cortisol. When cortisol is produced in an excessive amount because of stress, the skin tends to become abnormally oily. As a result, you may encounter an eczema outbreak.
A study also suggests that stress affects skin conditions and increases the time required for the skin to recover from irritation and skin damage. Stress can not only trigger eczema but may also result in chronic eczema flare-ups that can leave an individual more stressed. This often forms an apparently endless cycle.
Another study revealed that the stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of eczema outbreaks in infants. The study included approximately 900 mothers, their children and analyzed their stress levels during their pregnancy stage. It was reported that women with a high anxiety levels during their pregnancy increased their infants chances of developing eczema, when they were between 6 and 8 months old.
In case of those with eczema, stress leaves an adverse impact on the immune system. As a result, the process of wound healing is badly affected and becomes slow. The immune system fails to induce a quick response to repair the tissues.
Rash Due To Parasites
One of the most common rashes from a parasite infection is scabies. Scabies is produced by a small mite . This mite is usually contracted by prolonged contact with another infected individual. The mite lives in the superficial layers of human skin. It does not produce symptoms until the host becomes allergic to it, which occurs about three weeks after the initial infection. It can resemble eczema. Bedbugs cause a series of eruptions where they pierce the skin.
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What Is An Eczema Flare
Eczema is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions that cause redness, dryness, and itchiness of the skin.
Atopic dermatitis, the technical term for eczema, is a common condition affecting over 30 million people each year.
While eczema symptoms can be uncomfortable, they can be managed.
A variety of factors can cause what is described as an eczema flare-up, or a return of the symptoms of eczema that may affect one or more parts of the body.
There are a number of common causes which may prompt an eczema flare-up, but the good news is there are many ways to manage eczema if youre aware of your triggers, and you may even be able to prevent potential flare-ups.
This article will review causes, symptoms, and treatment for flare-ups of this skin condition.
Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Food allergies are a factor in 30% of young children with severe eczema. This factor is mainly seen in babies.
- The main allergic foods are cow’s milk and eggs.
- The main symptoms are increased skin redness and itching. Some parents report these symptoms start during or soon after the feeding.
- The eczema becomes easier to control if you avoid the allergic food.
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Emollients For Washing And Bath/shower Equipment
Soaps, shower gels and bubble baths can dry out the skin. Its best to use an emollient wash product or a leave-on emollient as a soap substitute. The exception to this is washing the hands while Covid-19 remains a threat. The Covid-19 virus is not fat-soluble so it will not be removed by washing with emollients alone soap is needed. If you have hand eczema, any residual soap will aggravate the eczema, so wash your hands again with your emollient. Then pat them dry with a soft towel and re-apply emollient.
Your GP may refer you to the Community Occupational Therapy Service if you need special bath/shower equipment for safety or if you have difficulty getting in or out of the bath/shower. They can fit a bath seat, grab-rails, a seat in the shower or an alarm if you get into difficulties.
Emollient bath oils make the shower tray and bath more slippery. Use non-slip bath mats to help reduce the risk of slipping. Support bars fixed to the wall in the shower or by the bath will provide extra safety when showering/bathing. Pour bath emollient into the bath after you get in rather than before. As an extra precaution its a good idea to empty out bath water before getting out of the bath. Be careful not to knock your legs, as this could lead to ulcers.
See National Eczema Societys Emollients factsheet for more information.
Eczema Coping Tips Avoid Changes In Temperature
Abrupt temperature and humidity changes can sometimes irritate the skin for example, going in and out of air-conditioned buildings on hot days or heated buildings on cold days.Hard physical activity or exercise that makes you sweat heavily can also trigger the itch of eczema.Suggestions include:
- In winter, dont overheat your house. Dress warmly when going outdoors and remove the extra layers as soon as you return.
- In summer, dont over cool your house. Air conditioners can dry out the air and irritate your skin.
- Avoid hard physical activity in hot weather. For example, do your gardening first thing in the morning, or in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky.
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Getting An Initial Consultation
When you come in for your initial meeting, Dr. Jurzyk will carefully examine your skin and discuss all of your symptoms. He will also ask you about the activities that you were engaging in before your flare-up began.
In addition to discussing these activities, you should be prepared to talk about any detergents, skincare products, and supplements that you have recently started using. Talking about these substances will help Dr. Jurzyk identify triggers that are causing you to experience skin issues.
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Whats The Difference Between Dermatitis And Psoriasis
Psoriasis and dermatitis can appear similar. Both cause patches of red skin. However, in psoriasis, the scales are thick and the edges of those scales are well-defined.
Discuss with your healthcare provider your questions about which type of skin condition you have. You can have more than one skin condition at a time. Treatments for one may not work for the other.
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Choose The Right Cycle
Fabrics most recommended for eczema include cotton, bamboo, and silk. The first two are pretty durable unless the fabric is very thin and prone to tearing or ripping, but silk requires a delicate touch.
As I mentioned above, its best to skip the hot water to help your laundry last longer, but its also important to consider which wash cycles may be best for different items in your laundry basket. Follow the instructions on the clothing labels, but in general, cotton and bamboo can handle more heavy duty cycles, while silk and any very thin material should be hand washed or if washed in a machine, first placed in a mesh bag and then washed using the gentlest cycle possible. I keep a few sizes of mesh bags on hand so I always have one ready to use.
The 6 Most Common Triggers For Eczema:
1. Dry skin When your skin is dry, it can cause eczema symptoms such as brittle, rough or scaly skin. Some people have a genetic condition associated with a skin protein called filaggrin that causes their skin to lose moisture and allow allergens and bacteria to enter the skin more easily. The best way to prevent an eczema flare is to keep your skin well moisturized. Recent research suggests that moisturizing a babys skin from birth may help prevent eczema from developing.
2. Food allergies Food allergens can play a role in the onset of eczema symptoms, particularly for infants and young children. Its believed the breakdown of the skin barrier contributes to an allergic response when a food allergen is consumed. Among children under the age of 2, eczema is most often related to milk or egg allergy but it can occur with any food.
3. Environmental allergies People with eczema may experience symptoms after exposure to certain grass, tree or ragweed pollen and/or indoor or outdoor mold. Pet dander and dust mites may also trigger symptoms. Since these allergens are often difficult to avoid, the most important treatment is aggressive moisturizing, along with antihistamines and topical skin corticosteroids, if necessary. Skin testing will help identify specific allergies so you can avoid the allergens. Some patients do well with allergen immunotherapy .
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