As anyone who suffers from eczema knows, countless everyday items can cause the skin condition to flare. From fabric to hot water, the triggers are everywhere and differ from person to person.
The symptoms of this autoimmune condition, which gives skin a tendency to become inflamed and itchy also differ from person to person, but a flare typically includes redness, blisters, oozing, crusting, scaling, thickened skin, and pigmentation changes.
The key to staying healthy when living with eczema is to keep symptoms under control. That starts with recognizing triggers. Six common eczema triggers
- Soaps, shampoos, creams
- High/low temps and sweating
- Dry skin
Doctors still aren’t sure what causes eczema, but there are new treatments and more guidance on improving the quality of life for people with eczema and sensitive skin.
The National Eczema Association runs a Seal of Acceptance™ program to guide consumers in finding suitable products. The NEA accepts applications from products in eight categories, from moisturizers and clothing to hair care and sunscreen, and reviews them to determine whether they contain ingredients that are unsuitable for people with eczema or sensitive skin conditions.
Biologics are genetically engineered medications that contain proteins derived from living cells. The first biologic injectable approved for eczema debuted in 2017. In addition, complementary and alternative therapies such as supplements, topical plant-based oils, meditation, and acupuncture can be beneficial in controlling symptoms.
More common treatments include:
- Over-the-counter products: Many nonprescription products are sold to moisturize skin, relieve rashes and itchiness, and gently clean the skin to avoid infection
- Proper bathing and moisturizing: Use a moisturizer within three minutes after taking a lukewarm bath or shower. Some symptoms may be calmed by adding vinegar, salt, oatmeal, or baking soda to bathwater
- Prescription topical medication: Treatments applied directly to affected skin areas to ease symptoms include steroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors and nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory ointments
- Phototherapy: Under medical supervision, the affected skin is exposed to light to reduce itching and inflammation
- Systemic medications: Prescription drugs such as cyclosporine, methotrexate, and mycophenolate mofetil calm the immune system to prevent it from overreacting to triggers
Do your research and talk to your doctor about some of the new treatment options available.