What Flares up Eczema?
What Flares up Eczema?
In our last article we talked about what eczema is, what the symptoms are and what triggers eczema. In this article we are going to look into more detail at what flares up eczema and what makes eczema worse over time.
The exact cause of eczema is not known however researchers believe that it’s a combination of genes and triggers. The immune system is over-reactive and gets triggered by a substance which in turn leads to inflammation and is what flares up eczema.
What makes Eczema Worse?
Do allergies and triggers really lead to flare-ups? The answer is yes, according to Dr. Peter Lio, assistant professor of dermatology and paediatrics at Northwestern University in Chicago.
One person's triggers differ from another’s. Getting to know your triggers won’t necessarily cure your eczema but it can help you successfully manage it.
Is a certain type of food triggering you?
People who suffer from eczema often have an allergy too. Often certain types of food lead to flare-ups and should be avoided. Some common foods that trigger include:
- Citrus fruits
- Gluten or wheat
- Spices such as clover, cinnamon, vanilla
Preservatives and artificial ingredients contained in some foods may exacerbate symptoms and are often found in processed foods, fast food and in food high in trans fat such as margarine & fried foods.
Sugary foods are another source of inflammation due to the spike in insulin-levels.
Following a diet that is too restrictive however can bring along with it other issues and even though food allergies are not the problem for everybody who suffers from eczema, it’s worth following a healthy diet for 1-2 months to see if this is part of the reason for flare-ups. Eating a diet rich in vegetables in addition to some meat and fish is key, eliminating all dairy, simple carbs & sugar.
It’s not always straightforward to confirm a food allergy as there is no reliable test to tell you if you are allergic to something or not. The best thing is to leave the food out that you suspect for a few weeks and perhaps deliberately start eating it again to see if it flares up your eczema. You may need the advice of your doctor for this.
Is your skin too dry?
People with eczema often have very dry skin because their skin isn’t able to retain much moisture. When your skin becomes dry it becomes tight, scaly and brittle which increases your chances of having a flare-up. Every-day products and chemicals found in the house-hold and beauty products can add to the flare-ups.
A natural 100% organic soothing cream can help keep skin moisturised and help prevent flare-ups. Try the high factor 100% organic skin cream made from peony root which has helped thousands of our customers keep skin hydrated and reduce redness and inflammation.
Are you stressed?
Life brings along with it many challenges that can make us feel stressed such as losing a job, losing a loved one and day to day stressors such as parenting, work & mental health problems such as generalised or social anxiety.
Experts don’t know exactly why stress makes eczema worse but they do know that it triggers eczema in some people. Try and reduce stress by exercising, meditating, avoiding caffeine & maintaining a healthy sleeping pattern. Practicing relaxation techniques daily can drastically reduce stress-levels over time, many of which can be found on youtube or in apps such as a full body mindfulness scan, yoga, gratitude meditations etc.
Harsh Soaps & Cleansers
Soaps & detergents can irritate skin as they remove all natural oils from your skin. Avoid any soap, bubble bath & shower gel commonly found in supermarkets and buy ones specifically designed for eczema skin which contain no harsh chemicals and help your skin maintain moisture. Also stay away from harsh detergents and rinse clothing well after washes to ensure the harsh chemicals from washing powder is reduced.
All the above seems like a long list of do’s and don'ts which can make us feel like we're being restricted. In the end it’s all about following a healthy life-style to reduce inflammation such as a healthy diet, less stress, chemical free skin care, no alcohol etc. Experiment with different aspects of your life and find out what works for you.