What can trigger eczema? Anyone who suffers from the condition will have their own particular triggers.

These are substances or behaviours that are more likely to set off a dry, itchy rash if you come into contact with a particular substance or find yourself under stress or unwell.

Here are the most common triggers that are likely to be at the root of your itch and what can trigger eczema:

Dry Skin

Many of us get dry skin at some time or another. It can be caused by showering for too long, using the wrong soaps or simply wearing the wrong clothes. For eczema sufferers, allowing the skin to dry out can lead to a bigger problem when a rash developes, which is why regular moisturising with a good quality product is important.


Unfortunately, there are plenty of different products that can bring on a spell of eczema and they effect different people in different ways. Some of the most common are:

  • Household cleaners and washing up liquids.
  • Scented beauty products and fragrances.
  • Certain foods, alcohol or caffeine.
  • Metals such as nickel – even wearing a ring or earrings can set off an attack for some people.
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke cause a rash in certain cases.
  • Household disinfectants that contain substances such as formaldehyde are another common source of irritant.
  • Different fabrics can affect sufferers, even natural ones such as wool.

Emotional Stress

It’s not just physical things that can cause an outbreak of eczema. If you are suffering from stress or feeling run down or unwell and are prone to eczema, it can cause a rash to develop. It can often be a double edged sword. Stress levels can increase once your skin starts to get red, dry and flaky making things worse.


There are a range of different allergens that can cause problems including dust and mites in the home. If you have pets and suffer from eczema, the cat or dog might well be exacerbating your symptoms. The trouble is that allergens can ensure that your eczema stays around much longer but they are all around us. Many people find keeping areas like the carpet clean and regularly changing bed sheets make a big difference.


Most people with eczema will try to avoid situations where they get too hot and sweaty. That prickly heat sensation can be uncomfortable for most of us but for the eczema sufferer it’s often amplified. Problems can occur not only in hot climates but when you’re in bed and it gets too warm or if you take too many hot showers or baths.

What Can You Do?

Obviously, if you have well defined triggers that cause your eczema, then you need to avoid them as much as possible. For many this will mean being careful about the products they choose to clean or shower with. If you suspect that the food you eat is contributing to your skin problems then keeping a detailed food diary can help identify those risks. Reducing stress at home and in the workplace may be important for others where emotional issues give rise to that dry and itchy skin.

While there is no current cure for eczema, there is plenty that you can do to reduce the chance of an attack occurring. Of course, it’s not always possible to do this but simple changes here and there, such as using a proper moisturiser, can help keep those attacks at bay.

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