Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that can cause red, itchy, and inflamed skin. It is often triggered by irritants, allergens, and other environmental factors. Knowing what can trigger an eczema outbreak can help you take steps to prevent flare-ups and manage your symptoms. Irritants such as soaps, detergents, and bubble baths can cause an eczema outbreak.
Allergens such as dust mites, pet hair, pollen, and mold can also trigger a reaction. Stress has also been linked to eczema flare-ups. Changes in weather, such as extreme cold or humidity, can also cause an outbreak. Food allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, and wheat have been identified as triggers for some people.
Hormonal changes due to menopause, pregnancy, or menstrual cycles can also cause an eczema outbreak. Sunburn can inflame the skin and cause an outbreak of eczema. If you are sensitive to sunscreens, use mineral versions such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for protection. Bacterial and viral skin infections can also be potential triggers for eczema.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common bacterium that induces infection in patients with eczema. Herpes virus, molluscum contagiosum, and vaccinia are other viruses that have been linked to eczema outbreaks. Excessive sweating due to heavy exercise or wearing too much clothing can cause the skin to dry out and trigger an eczema outbreak. Materials such as polyester or wool can irritate some people's skin and cause an outbreak.
Scented soaps, lotions, perfumes, shower gels, and other personal care items can also irritate the skin and cause a reaction. If you have severe eczema, you may need to take extra steps to limit exposure to certain triggers. Keeping a diary of your activities and any reactions you experience can help you identify your personal triggers. If a rash appears suddenly, spreads rapidly, or shows signs of infection, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Knowing what triggers your eczema outbreaks can help you make informed choices about diet and activities.
You may need to take extra steps to limit exposure to certain triggers if you have severe eczema. Keeping a diary of your activities and any reactions you experience can help you identify your personal triggers.