3 Lesser-Known Eczema Triggers

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July 16, 2017

We’re no strangers to eczema at Awair--many of us have experienced some form of eczema or, in the case of Ron, our CEO, have children or loved ones living with eczema. We understand the frustration and helplessness that can come with trying to overcome--or at least calm--eczema, which is why we’re dedicated to raising awareness to one of the lesser-known eczema triggers: your air quality.

The journey to discovering your unique eczema trigger can be daunting. The best place to start is making sure your environment irritates your skin as little as possible--starting with your air. This is because the air around you has more to it than you may realize. It’s actually filled with a variety of different factors that determine how healthy it really is, from dust, to carbon dioxide, to its levels of humidity, to chemicals.

Since our skin is constantly in contact with air, it’s very likely that it could also be reacting to it. In some cases, air quality itself can be a very potent trigger. Unfortunately, some of the worst air that you’re coming in contact with could be in your home, since indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outdoors.

Don’t panic just yet, though! It’s actually very easy to keep the air in your home safe for your skin by making a few quick adjustments. To help, we broke down some of the main components of air that cause eczema flare ups, along with a few tips to keep your air safe and healthy:

1. Chemicals


Yes, chemicals. Many of us don’t realize how incredibly common it is to have chemicals in our air, but it’s highly likely that you’re breathing chemicals right now. That’s because the type of chemicals found in your air--volatile organic compounds, or VOCs--are found in virtually every corner of your house--from your cleaning supplies, to your furniture (including cribs), to the packaging on new products you buy, to the paint on your walls.

VOCs damage the skin’s natural protective barrier and cause it to retain less moisture and become irritated--which will make eczema worse.

The best way to keep your VOCs at bay is to pay attention to the ingredients list on the items you’re bringing into your home, then opting for cleaner alternatives. We’ve listed out the most common causes for VOCs (and how you can prevent them) here.

2. Dust


Dust contains a potpourri of unpleasant items, like dead skin, mold spores, pieces of dead insects, and pet dander. Your house can have dust mites even if it isn’t very dirty. Sometimes cleaning can do more harm than good--vacuuming and dry dusting can stir up dust mites and spread them into the air.

Dust can irritate your skin and cause flare-ups. In some situations, it can also damage your skin’s protective barrier and cause a bacterial infection.

Since many cleaning techniques can actually create more dust, it’s important to know how to properly keep your home clean--we broke down the best techniques here. Dust mites love dark, moist places, with temperatures oft 70℉ or higher and humidity over 75%. Regulating your temperature and humidity can help prevent dust mites from spreading throughout your house.

3. Humidity


Finding a balance with the levels of humidity in your home is crucial for the health of your skin, and low humidity can trigger eczema flare ups.

Cold, dry air is devastating for the health of your skin, and it can make eczema exponentially worse. You are most comfortable when the relative humidity of the air around you is between 20% and 60%. Try using a humidifier to keep your home from being too dry.

Know What's In Your Air

We want to help you use your air as an ally to help keep your skin healthy and prevent eczema flare ups. The best way to have a complete understanding of whether the air in your home is safe is to have an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair, which tracks toxins and chemicals in your air and provides personalized recommendations to help you stay safe and healthy.