The most common form of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis. This form is often the result of coming into contact with an allergen. The allergen causes a reaction that results in the eczema rash. The most common indoor allergens are pet dander and dust mites. However, there are several others. Let’s take a closer look below.
Harsh chemicals can be found in household cleansers, solvents, turpentine, bleach, rubbing alcohol and gasoline. Always handle all cleaning products and other chemicals with care. Protect your hands with latex free gloves. Wear a protective mask to avoid breathing in fumes.
Harsh Soaps and Detergents
Look for cleansers that are free of dyes and fragrances. Avoid antibacterial soaps, as these can trigger hand eczema flares. Read labels and avoid shampoos and soaps that contain sulfates. Use free and clear laundry detergents and avoid the use of fabric softeners and dryer sheets altogether. I know, many of these smell good and it’s tempting to use them, but when you have eczema or sensitive skin, these can exacerbate your condition. Always wash your hands in warm water. Hot water causes the skin to dry out and will make symptoms worse.
Dust is one of the worst and most common allergens within a home. It is important to dust frequently and carefully. Avoid the use of feather dusters. Use a cloth or dusting pad instead. Also, be sure to wear a disposable, protective mask when dusting. This will help to avoid the dust from invading your sinuses.
Dust Mites (Bed Mites)
These little critters are disgusting and difficult to avoid completely. By dusting your home frequently, you reduce your chances of dealing with a full infestation. These are microscopic and love to nest in mattresses, bedding, pillows, carpet and other upholstered furnishings. It is well worth the investment, to purchase a mattress dust mite protector. It’s a cover that will prevent you from having them feast on your dead skin at night, causing your eczema to flare. Wash your bedding in hot water with allergen free detergent, once a week.
A common misconception about pets, is that the shorter the hair, the less dander the animals produce. This is unfortunately, false information. All of our furry, little friends have dander. There are measures you can take to reduce the dander, so that you don’t have to get rid of your pet. First, bath your pets once a week. Second, brush them frequently and brush them outdoors, rather than inside your home. Third, vacuum your home at least twice a week with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
Cigarette smoke is an allergen that can exacerbate your eczema and other dry, skin conditions. You should quit smoking; however, if you do smoke, never smoke indoors or in your vehicle. Wash your hands in warm water and a mild cleanser. For help to quit smoking please visit SmokeFree.gov.
It is important to rid your home of indoor allergens when living with atopic dermatitis. Other allergens to be aware of include: cockroaches, mold and pollen (it can be tracked indoors).
Dr. Cheryl Lee Eberting a well respected, board certified dermatologist, has created a vegan, hypoallergenic skin care line that combats skin care issues such as eczema, cracked heels and psoriasis.