Eczema Triggers | What Can Cause an Eczema Flare Up?


Hello, I’m Dr. Peter Lio and I’m here today to answer some of your eczema questions. Today’s question is:”What are some common triggers for eczema?” This is a great question and it’s important to know that for each patient there may be different triggers. However there are some universal ones that affect many patients with eczema. The first and most common I would say, is cold dry weather. For many people this is a huge trigger and the wintertime can often be a difficult time for our patients with eczema. That being said, many patients also flare up when it’s warm and humid, sometimes even if they’re just exerting themselves and becoming warm, from say exercise for example. That can be a trigger for many. Lots of things in the environment can also trigger an eczema flare-up. True allergens in the environment, things like pollen, mold, ragweed – these can all trigger it. Pet dander, pet saliva for many people. We also know that certain foods can trigger it. Most of the foods we think that trigger it are true food allergies, but some foods just seem to be inflammatory for certain people even with negative allergy and that maybe is where things like gluten and dairy fall in for many people. Even if they test negative they find that they’re doing better when they’re off of those foods and it may be because they’re inflammatory. It turns out that stress is a big trigger as well and of course when we’re feeling flared up that often contributes to stress which then makes this vicious cycle. Poor sleep is another trigger for many people. All of these things can come together and many patients find that multiple factors are happening at once. What’s very frustrating is that patients will tell me – “I’m doing everything I can to avoid my triggers, why am I still having flare ups?” – and we say it’s really important to know that they’re not the underlying cause necessarily. If you’re lucky enough to have a few triggers, that if you avoid them your skin is clear then you don’t need us – you’re great, you’re beyond this point. But for the patients who are really trying to avoid their triggers but still having some eczema, I would say that’s the norm. That our goal is really to avoid everything we can feasibly avoid but then we still often need to treat the underlying disease, because it is still there and the triggers are simply fueling it. I hope you enjoyed the video and I look forward to seeing you in the next one! Thank you.

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