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How To Determine (and Avoid) Your Eczema Triggers

How To Determine (and Avoid) Your Eczema Triggers

Eczema is sometimes called atopic dermatitis, and though it often affects children, you can experience its patches of dry, itchy skin at any age. Eczema can be frustrating and force you to limit your activities to care for your skin. 

Something many eczema patients don’t realize is that eczema can flare or worsen when exposed to triggering situations. At Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey in Old Bridge, Freehold, and Union, New Jersey, our dedicated experts can help you manage the triggers that cause eczema flares so you can live comfortably.

What’s a flare? 

Researchers believe eczema develops from an interaction between your genes and your environment. If you have a genetic predisposition to eczema, your skin reacts to certain environmental factors with inflammation, causing flares.

If you have a flare-up, you might feel rashes or patches of red and itchy skin. Your skin might ooze fluid or even bleed, which can worsen if you scratch or pick at it.

You might even find that your symptoms disrupt your sleep and daily routines.

What can trigger a flare?

Just as eczema can have various symptoms, it can also have a variety of triggers, some of which may be surprising. Here’s a list of what can set off an eczema attack. 

Dry skin

Dry skin becomes tough and scaly, making you more vulnerable to an eczema flare. This risk worsens if you pick at the skin, which can cause it to get more inflamed or crack.

To protect yourself from dryness-related eczema flare-ups, moisturize at least twice a day. Look for gentle moisturizers that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.

Stress and anxiety

One of the triggers that you might find especially surprising has to do with your mental health. Stress and anxiety don’t cause eczema flares outright, but they often exacerbate them. 

When you’re stressed, your body releases a chemical called cortisol. If there’s too much cortisol in your system from chronic stress, it can interfere with your immune system and trigger an inflammatory response in your skin. 


In today’s world, it’s difficult to avoid exposure to potentially irritating chemicals, even in detergents and soaps. Some common irritants include:

Tracking the products in your environment can be a crucial part of discovering whether a particular substance triggers your eczema. 

Lesser-known triggers

Some eczema triggers, like dry skin or stress, are more well-known than others. Watch out for these lesser-known eczema triggers:

Babies who drool often may have eczema flares because saliva can dry out their skin. 

Avoiding flares

There is currently no cure for eczema, so identifying and avoiding your triggers is the best place to start. Patients who keep a journal detailing their diet, the weather, products, and daily activities can often identify patterns and recognize triggers. 

Additionally, protect your skin from dryness and sweat by moisturizing often and bathing in warm (not hot) water promptly after exercising. Make sure to check the labels of all your products and swap out any that contain harsh chemicals.

Treating eczema

Avoiding your triggers is one of the best ways to manage eczema, but sometimes it may be too late to prevent a flare. Our team might treat eczema by applying medicated creams and wrapping the area with bandages.

If topical treatments are not enough, counseling and behavior modification therapy may help you manage your urge to scratch. We consult with you to create a plan that suits your needs before attempting any treatment.

At Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey, our team of providers is here to help answer questions and speak with you about your eczema triggers and treatments. You can schedule an appointment today at one of our three convenient locations.

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