First of all eczema is used as a general term for many types of skin inflammation and itching skin (also called dermatitis) and allergic-type skin rashes. There are many things that can irritate your skin. There are two basic types of causes for eczema and dermatitis in your home; allergens and irritants. Some reactions happen on the surface of your skin and some reactions happen internally but show up as irritation on your skin.
Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two different forms of eczema. Contact dermatitis is an external reaction that occurs when your skin comes in contact with something your are allergic to or a chemical that is irritating to your skin. This type of eczema is the easiest to figure out and correct.
Atopic dermatitis is the result of an internal reaction by your immune system to an irritant or allergen. When your immune system interacts with the trigger, and typically another component in your body such as irregular hormones, food allergies or stress-related toxins, the result is an eczema outbreak on your skin that is painful, swollen, and itchy. This rash can occur anywhere on your skin, not just at the spot where you contacted the allergen or irritant. Atopic dermatitis is the hardest type of eczema to eliminate, because it is hard to know what to look for, when two elements are involved.
The irritant may also be a common household chemical. Some of the more common chemical irritants are laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning solvents, latex products, and nail varnish. However, you may eliminate all these things and still find you are breaking out. If that is the case, check many of the items you use on a regular basis, such as the synthetic fibers in your bedding, clothes, furnitures, rugs and your beauty products, to make sure they are not irritating your eczema. Also look for mold, mildew and pet dander in your environment which can serve as a trigger for allergies. Many people have a reaction to lime juice, hand sanitizers, antiperspirants, hair removal products, antibiotic ointments and even metal zippers and snaps (it’s the nickel).
Some allergens in your foods can contribute to your atopic dermatitis. Foods like peanuts, strawberries, food coloring, cow milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat and other food additives are known to cause internal and external eczema.
Here are a few tips for avoiding skin irritation:
1. Read labels. Know exactly which chemicals are in the product you’re using. Try to avoid products that contain ingredients you’ve had a reaction to in the past. Follow directions on the label so you know you’re using the cleaning product safely.
2. Go alternative. “Green” cleaners won’t necessarily prevent dermatitis, but they are generally gentler on the skin, not to mention on the environment. Look for cleaning products labeled “fragrance and dye-free” or “all natural,” or try an old-fashion cleaner like baking soda. Nellies makes a very good All Natural Washing Soda
Bottom line: Be your own detective. You are the best one to narrow down and eliminate irritants in your surrounds. Why spend the money on allergy patch testing when you can do a more accurate elimination trial on your own using products you already have. Visit my Skin Allergy Products Store to see products and books I recommend.
If you have any comments or suggests please comment below.
Filed under: General Allergies, skin allergies | Tagged: allergic to detergents, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, eczema, eliminate irritants, food allergies, green cleaners, itching skin, rashes, skin inflamation |