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8 Things That Make Eczema Worse And Tips To Avoid Them

woman's hand applying skincare

Atopic dermatitis, or more commonly known as eczema, a skin condition that causes rash, redness, dryness and itchiness on the skin. The itch can be so severe that it sometimes keeps a person up at night. As of now, there is no permanent cure for this condition, it can subside but it will flare up again if it is not well managed. Although it is not an allergy, using certain products or touching certain materials can even make symptoms worse.

While it is impossible to fully avoid all eczema irritants, we can still pinpoint the most common few culprits. A little alertness and changing of little habits can go a long way in terms of happiness and living a good quality of life despite having eczema. 

Hot Water

While a long hot bath after work may be enticing, dermatologists actually warn that hot water can make eczema symptoms worse. This is because the hot water tends to dry out the skin. There might be a temporary relief from the hot flowing water but it follows with undesirable consequences once you get out of your bath. 

Do this instead: Take short daily soaks in warm or cool water. This helps your skin absorb the moisture without drying it out. Follow up each bathtime with an ointment or cream to seal in moisture afterwards. 

Stress

We have all heard that stress is one of the triggers of eczema and it is true! While stress does not cause eczema or atopic dermatitis to appear, it does cause flare ups to happen. Flares of itchiness can in turn create even more stress. Sounds like a horrible never ending cycle. Therefore we must stop it from the root cause – stress. By reducing and alleviating stress we can reduce the severity of each eczema symptom. 

Do this instead: When feeling stressed, try out relaxation methods such as yoga, meditation or put on your favorite song or movie. Try to do something you like to help take your mind off stress and any itchiness you may feel at the moment. 

Sweat

People often report that their eczema symptoms seem to get worse after sweating – whether it’s from a workout routine or a warm night in sweaty sheets. Exercising is important however when you have to deal with a skin condition such as eczema, precautions must be made. While there is no way to avoid sweat entirely there are ways to help soothe and make things better. 

Do this instead: Wear loose cotton clothing if you know you are about to break a sweat, whether during exercise or during your sleep time. While exercising, wipe off your sweat consistently and get a bath as soon as possible after it’s done. Don’t forget to moisturize your skin after the shower. 

Hygiene Products

When having sensitive skin such as eczema, we must take note of the products that we use on our skin. Make sure you check through the ingredients in your personal hygiene products to ensure they contain non-irritating or natural ingredients. Stay away from products that contain fragrances, parabens or formaldehydes, all of which can irritate skin. 

Do this instead: Use a gentle hydrating cleanser, toss the soap and stay away from bubble bath products (because unfortunately a lot of them contain fragrances that may harm sensitive skin)!

Quick tips: Herbbies product do not contain any of these harmful ingredients!

Chemical Sunscreens

According to the National Eczema Association (NEA), the active ingredients inside chemical sunscreens can actually generate free radicals that can damage and be absorbed into the skin. These ingredients may also irritate sensitive skin such as eczema or psoriasis. However there are still ways to enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about getting burned skin. 

Do this instead: Look for physical sunscreens, or also known as minerals sunscreens. These sunscreens contain ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that remain on the skin instead of being absorbed into it. (Look for these sunscreens if you have eczema – here )

Clothing Material

Fabrics play an important role in the life of a person with eczema because not all fibers are made the same. Some, especially wool and synthetic fabrics are too abrasive and tend to irritate the skin. Cotton clothing and bedding are always the best choice as it is both cool and breathable. 

Do this instead: Choose cotton clothings if possible and always wash your new garments or bedding before using them, to make sure it is free of any irritating chemicals and dyes. 

Cotton clothing is a better alternative for eczema, as compared to clothing with polyester.

Infections

People with atopic dermatitis or eczema have more skin-surface bacteria due to their abnormal skin function. When they start scratching their skin they can easily introduce germs and bacteria which can worse eczema. The most common germ here is the Staphylococcus aureus, which is found in 90 percent of eczema skin lesions. So if you can control, try your best not to scratch any eczema patches. 

Do this instead: The NEA recommends to take a bath in mild bleach solution (half cup of household bleach for a full tub) about 2 to 3 times a week to reduce bacterial growth on skin. Keep clean and use natural antibacterial products on your skin as well. 

Environmental Allergens

One of the few common environmental allergens that can worsen sensitive skin symptoms are – pollen, dust and dust mites. These small little particles are all around and have the potential to trigger or worsen an eczema condition. Certain changes in the environment of your home can help, such as using hardwood flooring instead of carpeting and also investing in a HEPA filtration vacuum that can filter out 99.7 percent of small particles. 

Do this instead: Keep your surroundings clean and invest in hypoallergenic pillow cases and mattress covers to keep the pesky allergens out while you have a good night’s rest. 

That is it for today, we hope these little tips and tricks can help make life better and easier for all our dear readers out there!

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