Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is an aggravating condition affecting approximately 35 million Americans. While eczema is commonly associated with children, it can affect anyone at any age. You may notice patches of skin becoming red and itchy, with areas of oozing or swelling. It most commonly appears on the face, backs of the knees, insides of the elbows, hands and wrists.  Eczema is long-lasting and tends to ‘flare-up’ periodically. By knowing some common eczema triggers, you can help to manage these flares and prevent new outbreaks.

1.Temperature Extremes: Avoid getting too hot or too cold. Excessive sweating is an eczema trigger for many people, while extreme cold can cause the skin to become too dry. Aim for a comfortable environment with humidity levels of 45-55 percent.

2. Know Your Fabrics: Cotton is the best option when it comes to eczema sufferers. Avoid wool, synthetics, and other rough materials that could irritate skin and trigger a flare.

3. Laundry Detergent: There are some harsh ingredients in many detergents that can irritate skin. Look for a fragrance-free, neutral pH detergent and opt for a double rinse cycle.

4. Cosmetics: Many cosmetics have preservatives or fragrances in them that can be irritating to eczema sufferers. Look for “fragrance-free” products and do a small patch test before using them to test for irritation.

5. Beware of Dust Mites: Keeping areas thoroughly cleaned that tend to capture a lot of dust, i.e. carpeting, rugs, blinds, etc. is key. Washing bed sheets and curtains in hot water weekly can also help.

6. Watch What You Eat: Food allergies can trigger eczema symptoms, so if you start to notice symptoms after eating a particular food, it might be time to see your doctor.

7. Stress: Stress is a common eczema trigger for many people. It’s nearly impossible to remove all of the stress from our lives, but keeping our stress levels at a minimum will help to stave off a flare-up.

While there’s currently no cure for eczema, the condition can be better managed by knowing your personal triggers and avoiding them to prevent flare-ups.

If you or someone you love is struggling to manage eczema symptoms, you may be eligible to participate in a research study at New England Research Associates. Qualified participants are closely evaluated by board-certified physicians and other medical professionals, and may even gain access to new treatments before they are available to the general public. Compensation is also available for time and travel expenses. To learn more, click HERE.