October is Eczema Awareness Month!
Our fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry soaps were formulated with sensitive skin in mind, so we love the messages we receive from folks with eczema searching for gentler laundry products that still get the job done. The National Eczema Association is celebrating Eczema Awareness Month this October, so we wanted to take some time to shine a light on this uncomfortable and all-too-common condition impacting over 30 million Americans.
What is it? Eczema shows up as itchy, red, often painful patches on children’s cheeks, chin, and chest and often on necks, inner elbows, behind the knees in adults—though it can appear anywhere on the body. It’s not just one condition, it’s an umbrella term for a few different inflammatory skin conditions, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.
How do you get it? Though there’s plenty we still don’t understand about eczema, we DO know that it’s not contagious—you can’t “catch” eczema from someone who has it. Folks with eczema often have a combination of genetic predisposition and an overactive immune system that responds to a trigger in the environment with inflamed skin. Fighting misinformation and stigma associated with the condition is a primary goal of Eczema Awareness Month.
How do you treat it? Though there’s no cure for eczema, it can be treated. Common suggestions for treating eczema include regular bathing and moisturizing routines, avoiding chemical triggers, light therapy, and using specific medicines (both OTC and prescription) that can help soothe symptoms.
What are some common eczema triggers? Working to avoid triggers is the first line of defense for folks with eczema. Because flare-ups can happen well after exposure to a trigger, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause—but eliminating some of these common triggering irritants can be helpful:
- Metals, in particular, nickel
- Harsh household cleaners
- Isothiazolinones, an antibacterial that is found in personal care products like baby wipes
- Cocamidopropyl betaine, a synthetic detergent used to thicken shampoos and lotions
- Paraphenylene-diamine, which is used in leather dyes and temporary tattoos, among other things
- Certain fabrics such as wool and polyester
- Antibacterial ointment like neomycin and bacitracin
- Formaldehyde, which is found in household disinfectants, some vaccines, glues, adhesives
Conventional and natural laundry detergents made with synthetic detergents can be a major trigger for sensitive folks, as one mom can attest. If you’re looking to avoid dyes, perfumes, fragrances, and detergents common in laundry products these days, our hypoallergenic natural, fragrance-free laundry soap powder and wool dryer balls can be a potential solution, though everyone’s triggers are different and new products should be tested with caution.Other common triggers include stress, sweat, changes in weather, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and insect bites. For more help identifying triggers, visit nationaleczema.org or see a dermatologist near you.