Common Eczema Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Common Eczema Triggers and How to Avoid Them

It’s just a bit of itchy skin, right? Wrong. When you have eczema, it can seem like everything around you is a threat to your skin’s health. This impacts not only your physical health but your emotional well-being too.

At the Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, we know just how overwhelming a condition like eczema can be. With offices in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, and Abingdon, Virginia, our team of specialists is here to help you manage eczema by understanding the triggers behind those painful, irritating flare-ups. 

What’s an eczema flare-up?

Underneath it all, eczema stems from a malfunctioning immune system and inflammation — flare-ups are the physical manifestation of that inflammation. 

No two people experience eczema the same way, but the symptoms of a flare-up have many similarities, such as:

Some individuals with eczema report difficulties sleeping due to intense itchiness. 

What triggers flare-ups?

Just as eczema can have various symptoms, it can also have a variety of triggers; some may even surprise you. Here’s a list of what can set off an eczema attack. 

Dry skin

Dry, tight, and rough skin is more vulnerable to an eczema flare. You’re also more likely to scratch and pick at dry skin, which exacerbates eczema. 

Stress and anxiety

Think your mental health is all in your head? Think again. Your mood and stress levels impact virtually every facet of your health, including your skin. While stress and anxiety do not directly cause eczema, they do provoke symptoms. 

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. 


Unfortunately, you can find irritating chemicals and substances almost everywhere, including in your detergents, soaps, and perfumes. You can also be exposed to irritants in:

It’s important to keep track of all the products you come into contact with if you notice your eczema is flaring up. 

Lesser-known triggers

You may already know about the triggers mentioned above, but those aren’t the only things that can set off your eczema. Some lesser-known eczema triggers include:

Sometimes saliva can dry out skin and trigger eczema. This is especially true in babies who drool often.

How can you avoid flare-ups?

There is currently no cure for eczema, so identifying and avoiding your triggers is the best place to start. We recommend keeping a journal of any foods, weather changes, products, or activities that result in flares. It’s also vital that you moisturize your skin often and bathe 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, as well.

How else can you treat eczema?

Avoiding your triggers is one of the best ways to manage eczema, but we know that it’s not always foolproof. If necessary, we can prescribe oral and/or topical medications to give you extra support. Depending on your needs, we may recommend:

Ready to take back your skin? We’d love to help. Call or click to schedule an appointment today. We’re conveniently located in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, as well as Abingdon, Virginia.

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