Eczema is an umbrella term for a collection of chronic skin conditions that induce dryness, itchiness, and inflammation. The underlying reasons behind eczema are not fully understood, but common triggers, preventive methods, and eczema treatment options have been studied at length. If you suffer from eczema, here are some good habits you can adopt to minimise or prevent eczema flare-ups.
Track Your Triggers
Every eczema sufferer has different triggers. Some common ones include cigarette smoke, beauty products, soaps, stress, temperature, or environmental irritants. By tracking the causes, you can mitigate or avoid the triggers altogether to stop eczema flare-ups from occurring as frequently.
Exercise In Controlled Environments
While getting the blood pumping from a good workout is great for your physical health, heat and sweat can often trigger eczema flare-ups. The solution isn’t to abandon your exercise regime, but to control the impact it has on your skin.
Try to exercise in cooler environments whenever convenient. Avoid exercising in the afternoons and opt for evening workouts instead. If possible, try to exercise indoors with good ventilation to keep you cool. Another good tip is to moisturise before and after exercising to stop your skin from drying out.
Air Your Room Daily
The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which can present as inflamed or itchy skin when exposed to certain environmental allergens. Many such allergens are present as indoor pollutants and can include dust, dust mites, and toxic mould. By making the effort to improve your indoor air, you can potentially reduce the incidence of eczema flare-ups.
Learn more: Eczema Among Singapore Children
Distract Yourself From Scratching
While scratching the itchy skin from an eczema flare-up can provide short-term relief, it actually makes things even worse. Scratching the affected area damages the skin and releases chemicals known as histamines which cause even more itching and swelling.
To break the itch-scratch cycle, try to find ways to distract yourself. Playing video games, taking on a hobby, or even using a stress ball, can all help distract your mind.
Products like essential oils, perfumes, and even fabric softeners smell nice but can often set off your eczema. Both synthetic and organic fragrances are liable to contain ingredients that are commonly known to trigger atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis. Ideally, you should look to purchase products that are labelled fragrance-free.
Wear Thin Loose-Fitting Clothes
Wearing tight-fitting clothing can cause friction when it rubs against your skin and trigger an eczema flare-up. To minimise this, look to wear thin, loose-fitting clothing to reduce the pressure on your skin and keep you cool and comfortable.
Manage Stress And Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are known eczema triggers that can set off a flare-up due to fluctuating hormone levels. By managing your mental health and finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety, you may be able to reduce stress-related eczema flare-ups. Relaxation, exercise, sleep are all ways to help you keep calm and stress-free.
If however, despite your best efforts, you find that frequent eczema flare-ups are severely affecting your quality of life, then the best option is to visit a skin dermatologist in Singapore who will be able to advise you on treatment options, including some new developments that we have listed below.
Oral JAK Inhibitors
Oral Janus Kinase (JAK) inhibitors like Baricitinib, Abrocitinib, and Upadacitinib, are a class of drugs that work to curb your immune system. Previously used for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, they have recently been approved for eczema treatment in Singapore. They work by reducing the activity of an enzyme in your body known as the Janus Kinase which in turn reduces inflammation in the body. These drugs are systemic treatments for patients whose disease is not adequately controlled with topical medications. They are currently indicated only for adults (age 18 years and above).
Dupilumab is a new advanced treatment for eczema that works differently from other drug treatments. It’s a biologic drug that prevents the body’s immune system from overreacting to allergens and reducing inflammation of the skin. Dupilumab is administered via injections under the skin.
Other skin conditions like Psoriasis have also shown positive results when treated with biologics. When compared to systemic drugs which impact the whole immune system, biologics only target specific parts of the immune system.
Eczema flare-ups can be a nightmare to deal with. But by taking measured steps to reduce the frequency of incidences, minimise the impact of flare-ups, and by talking to your skin dermatologist about the latest treatments, you can find ways to combat eczema and enjoy a better quality of life.
Thomson Skin Specialist Centre is a trusted skin clinic with accredited experts who provide medical services that cover a wide range of dermatological conditions. If you have more questions about atopic dermatitis in Singapore or want to set up an appointment with us, reach out to our team via our Contact Us page.