What Are YOUR Triggers?
The best way to manage eczema is to try to avoid your triggers, but it can take work to discover what those triggers are. Some of the first ones you may notice are heat and hot water. But, there are other things, such as food allergies, which may also be making your eczema worse.
One of the best ways to learn more about what makes eczema worse is to learn about what triggers eczema in other people.
My eczema triggers are...
To learn more about how the community at large is affected by eczema, we reached out on the AtopicDermatitis.net Facebook page and asked you to fill in the blank: My eczema trigger(s) is/are _____________.
More than 50 of you shared what you’ve learned about your eczema triggers. Here’s what you had to say.
Food allergies can be triggering. A few of you mentioned tomatoes. Tomatoes are considered a nightshade vegetable, along with potatoes, peppers and eggplants. For some people, these vegetables increase inflammation in the body, and should be avoided. The only way you can tell if they affect you is to avoid them for a couple weeks and then slowly add them back in and see if you feel different. Keeping a food journal and tracking your symptoms each day is also a good way to find which foods make your eczema worse.
“Wine/grapes... and tomato anything. Also, peppers give me problems.”
“I can’t eat tomatoes.”
Sugar is known to cause inflammation in pretty much everyone. However, some people are more sensitive to it than others. Some people may need to cut it out entirely, which also means choosing salad dressings and condiments that do not have added sugar. Others of you may find that you can eat some, so long as the majority of your diet is vegetables, meats and other foods that do not contain sugar.
“Stress is a trigger.”
Stress floods the body with cortisol, a hormone known for the "fight-or-flight" response. People with atopic dermatitis already have a dysfunction in their skin barrier which makes it harder for the skin to keep out germs and keep water in. Add the stress hormone to an already compromised skin barrier and this can lead to moisture loss, an increased susceptibility to infection, and eczema. In this case, what might help is to get more sleep, exercise if you can, talk to friends or a therapist about what is causing the stress, and do more of the activities that bring you joy. In other words, do what you can to recharge your batteries and feel good again.
“Stress is a trigger for me.”
Many of you are well aware of how much heat can be a trigger, causing the skin to feel itchy and prickly. Heat is especially tough as then it causes sweating, which is a hotbed for bacteria. Many people living with eczema avoid going outside in the heat of the day, from 10 am until 2 pm. They will also travel with paper towels to help blot sweat off their bodies. Staying hydrated in the heat can also help lessen the effects.
“A warm bed.”
“Extreme heat or heat in general and extreme cold.”
“I cannot wear synthetic clothes.”
This is a big one. Anything that touches your skin and causes irritation is not good. For many of you, that includes any clothing material that is not natural: polyester, rayon, spandex and nylon may all be triggering. If you find that is the case, you may want to check out organic cotton clothing, which is the least irritating clothing available.
“Polyester. I have to wear some of my clothes inside out because the threads are wrapped in polyester, and that causes a rash every time.”
“I do seem to have problems with polyester and nylon fabrics.”
“I cannot wear synthetic clothes.”
We wish to say thank you to everyone in the AtopicDermatitis.com community who shared about their triggers. It is our hope that this information helps others living with eczema find out what works best for them.
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