It's National Eczema Awareness Week, a time of the year dedicated to improving understanding of eczema, its symptoms and possible solutions.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that usually manifests itself during childhood. Its most common form is known as atopic eczema. About 15 million Brits live with the condition, according to Allergy UK.
The disease usually comes in the form of itchy, red, cracked and dry skin. It appears as patches on the inside of elbows, backs of the knees, faces and scalps of those affected. In some cases, it spreads all over the body.
The NHS says that people with eczema experience periods where symptoms fade and others where they "flare up". There's not one general cause of eczema, and a multitude of things can trigger it. Allergies, for example, are often cited as causing flare-ups.
Washing-up brand Surcare teamed up with the Harley Street Dermatologist Adam Friedmann to identify six everyday things that can prompt skin to flare up, and he offers tips on how to avoid each one of them.
1. Hot water is a fake friend
Now that autumn is well on the way, it might be tempting to indulge in hot baths or turn up the temperature of the shower. However, Friedmann notes that doing so can actually make your skin drier, and "leave the skin raw and exposed". As dire as it sounds, you're better off keeping the water lukewarm to avoid flaring up. Instead of rubbing your body with a towel, you should just tap it until completely dry. Dr Friedmann also suggests ditching the soap in favour of bathing oils.
2. Dry air hates you
While we're all thankful for central heating when the streets are cold as ice, it's not your best friend if you have eczema. It produces dry air that encourages flare-ups. Dr Friedmann recommends using thick moisturiser at the beginning and the end of the day and drinking lots of water. Well-hydrated skin helps keep irritations at bay.
3. Clothing wants to turn you into a puddle of sweat and tears
A comfortable woolly jumper may sound like heaven on a cold evening. Think again. Several materials like polyester, nylon, and rayon make us sweat more, which facilitates eczema. Dr Friedmann swears by natural materials like cotton.
4. Washing detergent is the worst
Some detergents can be quite aggressive and contribute to flare-ups. It's why you should always use dermatologically-friendly washing powders. Stay away from products which contains enzymes, dyes, acids or fragrances.
5. Cleaning products are evil
Much like washing detergents, steer clear of aggressive cleaning products. Not only will they irritate the skin, they can actually cause another form of eczema called irritant contact dermatitis - ICD. Dr Friedmann supports natural cleaning solutions, such as white vinegar. It's also helpful to "wear gloves to minimise contact" with irritants.
Liquids are not the only culprits. Dust mites can also trigger eczema. Damp dusting is the way to go if you want to successfully get rid of potential allergens.
6. Blowing your nose
As if a runny nose was not annoying enough already. Blowing our noses can leave the skin irritated. Dr Friedmann suggests using "greasier emollients" to protect the face.