11 Triggers for Eczema Flare-Ups

Eczema can be managed in a more efficient manner when you are aware of the triggers. Various factors can aggravate or worsen the symptoms of eczema. Learn how to avoid these eczema flares for improved skin health and relief from discomfort.

By URLife Team
20 Nov 2023

Eczema is a chronic skin condition characterised by redness, itching, inflammation, dryness and small fluid-filled blisters. It is mostly prevalent in children, but can affect people of all ages. Eczema is chronic in nature (long-lasting)and can flare-up. It is important to note that eczema is not contagious; it cannot be transmitted from person to person through contact or proximity.  Understanding eczema and its symptoms helps find ways to manage it, identify triggers and keep our skin healthy.


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Symptoms of Eczema

Although different types of eczema may have different symptoms, these are the common symptoms of different types of eczema.

  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Oozing
  • Itchiness
  • Thickened skin
  • Blisters
  • Sensitive skin
  • Rash
  • Hyperpigmentation around the eyes


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Types of Eczema

There are various kinds of eczema with atopic dermatitis also known as childhood eczema being the most common one. Understanding the different types and the symptoms associated will help in managing the condition in an appropriate manner.


Atopic Dermatitis

This is the most common form of eczema and usually starts in infancy and often fades away by adulthood. Allergic disorders asthma and hay fever can trigger its occurrence.


Contact Dermatitis

It occurs when the skin reacts to something it touches, leading to redness, itching, and sometimes blisters in the affected area. Triggers may include soaps, detergents, jewellery made with nickel, and industrial chemicals like solvents and cement.


Dyshidrotic Eczema

This is the most distressing form of eczema and the most commonly affected areas are the palms, sides of the fingers, and soles of the feet. It is characterised by tiny blisters caused by damp hands and feet.


Seborrheic Dermatitis

This condition causes scaly patches, red skin, and dandruff, commonly affecting the scalp but can appear on other oily areas of the body where there are more sebaceous (oil-producing) glands.



It involves thick, scaly patches of skin because of repeated scratching; this type of dermatitis is often related to stress or anxiety.


Nummular Eczema

This type of eczema appears as coin-shaped patches of irritated skin that can be itchy and occasionally ooze fluid. It usually occurs after skin injury like a burn or insect bite.


Stasis Dermatitis

Individuals with poor blood flow are more prone to stasis dermatitis. It usually occurs in the lower legs accompanied by swelling, redness, and sometimes open sores on the skin.


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Triggers Exacerbating Eczema Symptoms

‘’While the exact cause of eczema remains unknown, eczema usually happens in predisposed individuals who have very sensitive skin’’ says Dr. Srabani Ghosh Zoha, Dermatologist at Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, Kolkata, with extensive experience of over 32 years. ‘’Sensitive skin is prone to damage by various factors such as soap or detergent, chemical cosmetics (chemicals used in cosmetics), hot showers, bathing for too long, weather and climatic changes among others’’. Dr Shrabani Ghosh Zoha highlights that individuals who are prone to eczema often have a compromised skin barrier, making it easier for irritants to penetrate and the irritants to seep in. Factors such as excessive sweating, stress and specific diet may also exacerbate symptoms in these individuals. 

Understanding and knowing what makes eczema worse plays an important role in managing eczema and reducing its effects. These are the most common triggers to be kept in mind if you or your loved ones are dealing with eczema.

Soaps or Detergents

Certain soaps or laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin, leading to itching and redness. Choosing mild, fragrance-free products can help reduce the risk of eczema flare-ups caused by these substances.


Chemicals in Cosmetics

Ingredients in some makeup or skincare products may worsen eczema symptoms for individuals with sensitive skin. Being mindful of labels and opting for hypoallergenic or natural products can be gentler on the skin.

Hot Showers
Long, hot showers can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and more prone to irritation. Lukewarm showers and using mild, moisturising cleansers can prevent exacerbating eczema.


Prolonged Baths

Prolonged baths or soaking in water for extended periods can dehydrate the skin, making it dry and aggravating eczema. Keeping baths short and patting the skin dry gently afterwards helps retain moisture.


Weather and Climatic Changes

Extreme weather conditions, like very cold or hot climates, can stress the skin, making eczema symptoms more prominent. Protecting the skin with appropriate clothing and using moisturisers can alleviate the impact of weather changes on eczema.


Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormones, especially during puberty, pregnancy, or menstruation, can affect eczema severity. Managing eczema during these periods may require extra care and attention to skincare routines by making use of natural products.



Emotional stress or physical stress can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms. Finding stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises might help manage eczema in stressful times.



Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and certain foods can act as allergens, potentially exacerbating eczema. Identifying and minimising exposure to these triggers can aid in controlling eczema flare-ups. Also, individuals can get food allergy tests done to know what acts as allergens to their bodies.


Sweat or Excess Saliva

Sweat and saliva left on the skin for too long can aggravate eczema, causing itching and irritation. Gentle cleansing and keeping the affected areas sweat-free can help prevent flare-ups.


Habitual Scratching

Continuously scratching eczema-affected skin damages the skin's protective layer, making it more susceptible to infections and worsening the condition. The use of distraction techniques or covering the area can help deter scratching habits.



Rough or synthetic fabrics can rub against the skin and irritate the skin. It also increases the body temperature, which leads to skin irritation. Choosing soft, breathable clothing made from natural fibres like cotton, and linen can reduce skin irritation.


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While there's no cure for eczema, managing the condition involves minimising flare-ups, reducing symptoms, and preventing complications like skin infections. Consulting with a dermatologist is crucial to getting a personalised treatment plan that addresses individual triggers and symptoms for better management of eczema.

Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have eczema. Taking regular health checks can help detect eczema at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.
With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.



Anjaneya Reddy 21 Nov 2023


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