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My 6 Common Eczema Triggers

Last updated: November 2022

At this point in time, unfortunately, there is no known cause of eczema. It is an extremely individual condition. In order to reduce symptoms and help manage them, it’s important we learn what our own personal triggers are. This has been vital in my own journey.

Below are some of the main triggers I've personally found to affect my body and skin, and they seem to be quite common. However, it is important to remember eczema affects everyone differently, and one person's trigger will not be the same as another’s.

Trigger 1

Aside from allergies, there are certain foods that may cause triggers and eczema flare-ups. Some foods, such as dairy products, wheat, eggs, citrus, alcohol, and other products high in sugar, are considered more inflammatory foods and can cause issues with some individuals.

Nuts, milk, and wheat are also common foods considered to be triggers. I personally have celiac disease, so anything with gluten is a no-go. I also have found I do much better without dairy (even though cheese is my favorite food) and very little sugar. And, of course – I also have nut allergies. I’ve personally had to play around with and change my diet quite a bit to find what works and what doesn’t for me.

Trigger 2

Both hot and cold weather can be a trigger for eczema flares, depending on the individual. When I was younger, my skin was much worse during winter when it was really dry out. But after going through TSW, heat is actually one of my biggest triggers. I tend to have the worst flares during summertime, unfortunately.

Trigger 3

Certain fabrics can be irritating for many people with eczema. I’ve personally found I can mostly only wear natural fiber clothing such as cotton and different varieties and blends of it. It certainly limits my wardrobe and what I can buy and wear, which can be frustrating. But to me, it’s worth it. My skin absolutely can’t stand rough fabrics like wool or anything synthetic like polyester.

Trigger 4

I would say at this point in my journey, stress is my #1 trigger. There has been a lot more coming out in recent years about the mind-body connection, including the connection with eczema. There was a study done in 2020 which looked at what triggers cause itching in people with eczema. The study found that stress was the most significant trigger in 35.4% of participants.1 I guess I am not alone on that one!

Trigger 5

There are many irritants found in soaps, lotions, detergents, cleaning products, etc., that can be potential triggers for people with atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions. While we may not necessarily be allergic to them, since our skin is so sensitive, we still tend to be more prone to reactions from them. I personally have to be very careful with anything I use, whether on my skin or in my environment.

Trigger 6

Many of us struggling with atopic dermatitis also have allergies, and we tend to be more prone to them as well. While this isn’t the case for everyone, the two are typically linked. I’ve had some kind of allergy my whole life, and they have changed throughout the years as well. Needless to say, it’s important to make sure you avoid any known allergens and speak with your doctor about allergy testing if you suspect anything.

Managing my main eczema triggers

These are just some of the main eczema triggers. I’ve found each of these to play a role in my own life, personally, and they are all connected as well. But it is important to remember they are different for everyone. Some may have many different triggers which cause a flare-up, and others may just have one specific one. This is why it’s important to always speak with your healthcare team, get any appropriate testing needed, and most of all – listen to your body.

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