One fine morning, one of my regular patients visited my office. She looked very worried, and, from her face, it appeared as if she would break down any moment. This time, she visited not to get treated for any of her ailment but with a concern related to her 7 years old daughter. On inquiring, she said that she was quite worried about her 7 years old daughter. She exclaimed that her daughter could not resist scratching her bum and used to spend sleepless nights because of this irritation. She showed me the pictures where there were red patches all over the buttocks and behind the thighs. The skin looked dry with fine eruptions here and there. After learning her case history, it was concluded as a clear picture of eczema.
Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis. It is an autoimmune skin condition that affects individuals of all age groups and both males and females. It is nothing but dry itchy skin in the layman’s term. Eczema presents a dry skin condition with red rashes which later become hyperpigmented. The lesions are present on both the sides of the body (bilateral presentation) commonly affecting bilateral cheeks, folds of the hands, behind the knees, buttocks, inner side of the thighs, etc. The most annoying symptom of eczema is the ‘itch’ that gets worse on scratching. This becomes a cause for social concern since the itch puts the individual in an awkward condition. This mother of a 7-years-old daughter had the same concern. She said to me that “Doc, please give her such a medicine which would reduce the itching, as her friends make fun of her when she starts itching her bum at school”. She also mentioned that her routine has gone haywire since she can neither sleep peacefully nor can concentrate on her studies due to the irresistible itching. It is very important to know that there are a few triggers that can make eczema worse, thereby aggravating the itching discomfort. I would like to list out a few things that can trigger itching and make eczema worse.
6 Triggers of Eczema to Avoid
Certain foods, habits, or exposure to certain chemicals or environments can make you suffer from eczema. By avoiding these triggers, you can minimize the episodes of the discomforting condition and regulate it. Here are some common triggers of eczema that you can avoid.
- Foods That Make Eczema Worse:
Gluten is eczema’s biggest enemy. It is known that gluten or foods containing gluten (wheat, maida, oats) can cause a flare-up of eczema. Hence, patients who are on a gluten-free diet often recover quickly compared to those who continue to consume gluten-rich foods.
Another culprit that can trigger eczema is milk or dairy products. It is known that the protein casein can induce itching due to histamine (a chemical in the body that causes allergic and inflammatory reactions) release. Other foods that can make eczema worse are eggs, nuts, seafood, red meat, foods containing soy, and some sour foods.
- Bathing with Hot Water:
Hot water baths can be relaxing, but they happen to take away the natural oils off the skin, thereby making it dry. Dryness further triggers itching, and itching makes the skin drier. Hence, combating dryness becomes the main focus of treatment while treating eczema. So, one should avoid using hot water or taking long hot showers to prevent dryness of the sin. Lukewarm water is usually recommended to prevent the unusual seepage of natural oils.
- Exposure to Detergents & Cosmetics:
Most household detergents and cosmetics contain sulfates and parabens. These chemicals can make eczema worse, as they produce skin irritation and trigger the inflammatory process. Individuals who suffer from contact dermatitis or eczema should keep themselves away from such detergents and cleaners. Use gloves while handling them if complete avoidance is not possible. Use products that are proven organic and made from natural ingredients. Similarly, avoid direct application of deodorants or perfumes on the skin. Look out for the ingredients, particularly for sulfate-free and paraben-free tag on the carton, before using any cosmetic.
- Weather & Certain Environmental Conditions:
Extreme weather conditions can shed the skin’s natural moisture and make it dry. Exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold can be responsible for eczema flare-ups. Likewise, exposure to pollen and dust causes histamine-release, thereby triggering the itching discomfort.
- Certain Clothing:
Wearing synthetic clothes such as nylon, rayon, polyester, and wool outfits can trigger eczema. Synthetic clothes are not skin-friendly as they prevent sweat absorption and their fibers cause skin irritation. So, opt for material, such as cotton, throughout the year that is soft on the skin and prevents skin irritation.
- Stress & Lack of Sleep:
It is observed that stress and anxiety usually trigger eczema. The reason for the same is not yet fully known. Many patients say that their itching increases when they are in stressful situations or when they happen to be sleep-deprived the previous night. Eczema has a direct impact on sleep, as itching can give one many sleepless nights, and inadequate sleep can make eczema worse. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken by moisturizing the skin regularly before going to sleep and hydrating oneself adequately during the day. One needs to be de-stressed and have a proper sleep to recover from eczema.
Having known these triggers of eczema, one needs to avoid them consciously, particularly when one is undergoing eczema treatment. Since the body is already fighting against the disease and striving in restoring its harmony, exposure to these triggering factors will further delay and complicate the recovery. Talking about treatment for eczema, homeopathy is undoubtedly the best treatment for eczema to opt for. Eczema being an autoimmune disease, homeopathic medicines work on correcting the disturbed immunity and excess histamine-release. Through homeopathic treatment, the immunity of the individual is raised to such a level where the body is capable to fight back the disease effectively all by itself.
If you find this blog useful and if anyone reading this blog or anyone among your acquaintances is suffering from eczema is looking for an effective treatment, do let us know in the section below. We would be happy to help you if you have any queries related to eczema.