Eczema flare-ups can be caused by many things. It’s not as simple to label it as a skin condition. There are many factors to consider. A stressful situation, a skin irritant, or something you ate can cause you to flare-up. Many different events over the course of an individual’s life can lead to flare-ups too. But below are the 5 common contributors to eczema.
 

1. Genetic predisposition

Researchers have found strong evidence that genetic factors can cause one developing eczema. The risk of children developing eczema is 2-3x higher if one of the parents has had it in the past. It doesn’t matter which of the parent had eczema or which areas of the body they developed it. So if you don’t know, this is the time to do a little bit of digging and talk to your family members. See how common eczema or skin-related conditions are in your lineage. Depending on your genes, this is could be the cause of your eczema flare-ups.
 
Knowing this is an important piece of your healing journey. Because it’s in your genes, doesn’t mean that you can’t manage or heal your eczema. The chances of it going away forever are low, but there are ways you can manage it to a point where it’s nonexistent. You may have an eczema flare-up every now and then. But, as you begin to heal your skin, the severity and the length of the flare-up will decrease. You’ll also know how to bounce back quicker.
 

2. Stress

We’ve heard a million times that stress is bad for us. We know that stress causes a lot of health problems for millions of people worldwide. Sometimes eczema flare-ups come out of nowhere or sometimes the flare-ups get worse. Most of the time, people are unable to pinpoint the cause of their eczema flare-ups. Yet, several studies have shown that stress exacerbates eczema. Individuals reported that being exposed to stress caused their flare-ups to get worse.
 
With stress coming at us in many different ways, it’s important to become self-aware. By understanding our own emotions and triggers, we can learn to manage our stress levels. If you know something stressful is coming up, this is where you should schedule a time to de-stress. But the key here is to take the time to understand what situations stress you out. A good exercise to figure this out is to write things, situations, and moments that stress you out. Then find an activity that will help you balance it out. For example working out, going for a walk, yoga, taking a bath, playing games, talking to family & friends.
 

3. Nutrition

After being diagnosed with eczema 20 years ago, my Doctor said that there was no correlation between nutrition and my skin. Boy, were they wrong. Research has found that the rate of eczema is continuously increasing in industrialized countries. Why? Because as we lead a more comfortable life, our diet and lifestyle are changing fast.
 
Studies have found that adults who have more meat, instant noodles, processed foods, and soda in their diet were associated with an increase in eczema. But what in these foods are making eczema worse? Processed foods have a host of chemicals, synthetics, and additives. These extra ingredients make them last longer on supermarket shelves and add flavour. When our body has to constantly digest these toxins, it takes a toll and that’s when things start going south.
 
So what we can learn from this one study? That by focusing on whole foods, you can decrease eczema flare-ups. You can even start to reverse and heal your eczema by consuming whole foods. The nutrients from whole foods provide the building blocks body to repair and heal. Processed foods may be convenient and cheap, but it lacks the basic nutrients to support your body.
 

4. Emotions

Are you always anxious? Or irritated? Do you have a temper? Having to deal with eczema alone is a tall order. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to show compassion towards yourself. But is there a correlation between your emotions and eczema? Researchers have found that eczema patients were angry quicker but were less likely to express themselves, more anxious, and less assertive. If this is new information to you, work with a therapist on how to manage and express your emotions.
 
By learning about yourself, you have the power to manage your flare-ups. Learn to release your emotions through journaling or talking with someone. Bottling up emotions can cause flare-ups because your body needs to do something with that energy. If you aren’t able to express it verbally, your body will express it for you, through your skin.
 

5. Topical Steroids

Yes, you read that right. The very medication you are using is also causing your flare-ups. But how? Using topical steroids to manage your eczema, is actually setting your two steps back. In the short term, there is no denying that it is effective. It’s so good that I needed to use it every day. It became a crutch. My body and skin are both dependent on it. My body forgot how to regulate, repair, and heal its skin on its own. Every time I used it, my skin needed more of it each time. This dependency can lead to topical steroid withdrawal.
 

So how do I manage my eczema flare-ups?

The first thing you need to do is change your mindset. This won’t be a quick fix. But, it’s truly a worthwhile endeavor. Once you commit to at least 6-12 months of healing, you will be well on your way to managing your eczema.
 
I would first focus on nutrition. By eating a predominantly whole foods plant-based diet, you will give your body the nutrients it needs to repair and heal itself. Nutrition will also support the next thing you need to work on, managing your stress levels.
 
Stress is unavoidable. We need to learn how to manage it and how to recover from it. When you are always stressed, your body actually requires more nutrients to sustain itself. This is why focusing on nutrition first is key.
 
Make sure to incorporate activities that you enjoy to help you with your stress. Colouring, drawing, going for a drive, playing your favourite instrument can help you.

Eczema Flare-Ups Are Telling You Something

Eczema is more than a skin condition, especially when it gets out of hand. It makes life hard by affecting our mind, body, spirit, and emotions. What we put in our bodies also affects our mind, body, and emotions. The hardest but simplest thing you can do is focus on the foods you eat and the thoughts you consume. When we start making changes to eat healthier and think positively, healing can happen.

Your mind and body are telling you through eczema that it’s time to make a change.
 
If you are starting your eczema or topical steroid withdrawal journey, book your complimentary 30 min call to find out how you can get started!
 
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