Finding what triggers your eczema will help your doctor diagnose and treat the condition more effectively. Being able to control your diet, environment and skin care to limit these possible triggers also helps. But, with so many possible things that can spark a flare-up and the range of places we go in a week, identifying them is not always easy.
I’m not a doctor, but I can tell you that keeping a diary is a powerful tool for managing the symptoms of eczema, and it will also provide information that is useful for the medical professionals who are helping you.
- skin products used
- how often you bathe/shower, for how long, and how hot the water is
- cleaning products you come into contact with
- stress levels
- what you eat and drink
- places you visit r
- egular activities, such as swimming in a chlorinated pool, or gardening
After several days of keeping your journal, you are likely to spot some connections between the activities in your journal and your eczema flare-ups. Writing down what you eat and drink is often enough to lead to a healthier diet – and it will also help you discover whether your eczema is triggered by food.
Even if you are unable to do your diary every day (because: life), the fact that you are raising your awareness of your actions and environment is likely to provide useful clues.
You can learn more about environmental triggers in a forthcoming blog.
Be a detective!
Any good sleuth knows not to jump to a conclusion too quickly. For example, if your eczema worsens whenever you wear a certain jumper, it might be the material, but it might also be the remnants of laundry detergent that are irritating your skin.
There are other benefits to having a symptoms diary. Simply observing your emotional state goes a long way to feeling more in control. The good news is that studies have shown that tackling low moods by writing a diary is just as effective as having therapy. Another proven method for feeling better is to include a positive moment from each day.
With little ones, jotting down things to look forward to will help to take the focus away from the illness and help to tackle the stress associated with it. You can have fun by experimenting with different ways of looking after their skin and see which soaps and moisturizers their skin reacts best to. This will help them learn about what triggers their eczema. You are also teaching them that self-care is important and can be fun.
One advantage of eczema (!) is that it is a common condition. You are not alone! Connecting with other parents or sufferers can help with the stress, as well as being a great place to gather tips for identifying triggers, self-care, diet and sharing your own knowledge, like this blog!
Right! I’m off to create a diary template and fill in my own star chart!