The top 6 everyday eczema triggers making your symptoms worse

Combat eczema irritants this National Eczema Week with these top tips from Surcare and Harley Street Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Adam Friedmann.

With an estimated 15 million* people in the UK suspected to have eczema, the cold winter months can bring a whole host of hurdles to overcome. From synthetic woolly jumpers to central heating known to irritate your skin, it can be difficult to control flare-ups, especially if you’re unsure of where these triggers lie.

To help eczema sufferers this National Eczema Awareness Week (September 16th – 24th), we’ve teamed up with Dr. Friedmann to help identify some of the most common eczema irritants, some of which you know, and some of which may surprise you.

Hot Water

The cold winter months might make it tempting to turn up the heat when it comes to bathing, showering and hand-washing, but try to refrain from doing this, since the mixture of hot water and cold temperatures can leave your skin feeling raw and exposed. Aim to bathe in lukewarm water to keep the temperature differences to a minimum. When drying your skin, pat until dry with a soft towel (rather than rubbing) and moisturise immediately, as this will help keep skin moist and reduce the chances of triggering an eczema flare-up.

Dry Air

One of the most common eczema irritants is central heating, which affects our skin in the same way that air conditioning does — by removing the air of any moisture that dries our skin out. These dry air environments which we surround ourselves in, particularly in winter, can increase the chances of a flare up. Try using a thick moisturiser every morning and evening to keep your skin nourished throughout the day, whilst also drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.


The cold weather often means we’re drawn to wearing thick woolly or fleece jumpers. However, synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon and rayon, which are commonly found in our clothing, can cause us to sweat more, which irritates eczema-prone skin. Try wearing clothes made from natural materials, which will allow the skin to breathe and decrease the likelihood of it becoming irritated.

Washing detergents

When washing your clothes, think gentle. Our garments constantly come into contact with our skin and certain chemicals used in laundry detergents can contribute to eczema flare-ups. Try washing clothes with dermatologically-friendly washing powders, such as Surcare, which is free from unnecessary ingredients such as enzymes, dyes, acids or fragrances, and is much less likely to cause skin irritation.

Cleaning Products

Household cleaning products, including liquids and sprays, can irritate the skin, causing a type of eczema called irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). According to the National Eczema Society, people with a history of atopic eczema are more likely to have sensitive skin and are therefore more prone to ICD. Try gentler versions of cleaners, or wear gloves to minimise contact. Dust mites can also trigger eczema, so try damp dusting to get rid of the dust instead of just moving it around.

Winter colds and sniffles

The cold elements outside can leave many of us with a runny nose or even a winter cold, which often leaves us blowing or wiping our nose. This repetitive action can leave our skin feeling irritated and can trigger an eczema flare-up. Try using a greasier emollient when moisturising your face, to help protect your skin from nose blowing.

*Figure taken from


Taking advantage of line-fresh laundry

Is there anything better than a sun-dried piece of clothing? We don’t think so. There are so many benefits that come from allowing the sun to dry freshly washed garments and we want to let you know about a few…

Line drying garments can save you a pretty penny

The decline in popularity of the traditional washing line is costing British families at least £120m a year. Tumble dryers are routinely used throughout warm summer months and it can cost the average household in the UK up to £165 a year to run their tumble dryer – shocking, we know.

Line drying your garments enhances freshness and can remove strong odours

Line dried clothes and sheets smell much fresher than garments that are tumble dried – this is particularly important for those sensitive to chemicals. UV has also been proven to kill bacteria that may survive a cool wash, including those that might have a health impact and those that cause clothes to smell which is always great to hear.

Line drying can be much more gentle on your garments

Tumbling away in a dryer can cause wear and tear on clothing fabric due to excessive stress on seams, and snags from buttons and zippers. The extremely high heat in the dryer can actually ruin some fabrics and cause irreversible damage. Line drying is more gentle to fibres as you can imagine.

Line drying clothing can promote energy conservation

Line drying laundry conserves energy and can help to protect the environment by saving fossil fuels. In the UK, 60% of households own a tumble dryer and It is estimated that if each household in the UK chose to line dry just one load of laundry every week, we could save over a million tonnes of CO2 every year. With many households doing laundry daily, this effect could easily be magnified if they made the switch.

With the above in mind, we would love to know what you think. Let us know on our Twitter or Facebook pages what your view on line-fresh washing is!


How to “summer proof” your skin

As we all brace ourselves and hope for a long, hot summer, it’s important to take necessary precautions to make sure nothing gets in the way of your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Whilst the hot weather brings much enjoyment for some, for others it can be plagued with skin allergy flare-ups leaving you sat indoors, miserable and out of the sunshine. So that you can make the most of Summer 2017, Surcare has put together a list of five top tips to help you avoid everyday irritants that can trigger a flare up:

Tip 1: The appearance of swollen, itchy, and pale red bumps, commonly known as hives, can be triggered by the heat and sweating, so it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids, apply sun cream regularly and take frequent breaks in the shade to avoid overheating.

Tip 2: Skin which is red, inflamed or cracked could be a sign that you have eczema, and sufferers of this skin condition often experience heightened symptoms during summertime. This is because the chemicals in our sweat are prone to aggravate the skin further. Selecting a fragrance-free washing powder and fabric conditioner, such as Surcare, will be kinder and more gentle to eczema-prone skin, giving it the TLC it needs.

Tip 3: As the warm weather leaves many of us feeling hot and bothered, we often find ourselves showering more regularly, and the increased use of soap can irritate skin as well as leaving it feeling dry. Use soap and fragrance-free washes, which are less likely to dry out your skin, since they’ll help you retain natural oils necessary to help your skin stay moisturised.

Tip 4: Be sure to wash your bedding more regularly throughout summer, as bed linen can be a host to allergens, which increase the chances of irritating your skin whilst you sleep. These allergens may be the reason for your allergy flare-ups and could set you and your skin off on the wrong foot each morning. Use Surcare’s laundry range to wash bed linen and be kind to your sensitive skin in the process.

Tip 5: Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics and stick to cotton clothing to help stay cool in the heat. This will not only avoid the chances of increased perspiration (which will irritate eczema prone skin) but will help you to stay cool in the summer sun, thereby decreasing the chances of developing hives or a heat rash.


How to soothe your baby’s eczema-prone skin

There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and suffering from skin irritation, and for parents with babies suffering with eczema, the battle to soothe their little ones red and sore skin can be overwhelming. One in five children in the UK suffer with eczema, leaving many parents feeling worried and wondering what products will help their child without causing further irritation.

The good news is that babies can grow out of eczema all by themselves and in the mean time there’s plenty you can do to help keep them feeling as soothed and comfortable as possible.

For those seeking advice, Consultant Dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, Dr Adam Friedmann, is here to give you some tips on keeping the irritating effects of eczema to a minimum.

Don’t use soap

Although most babies love splashing around in a bubble bath, soap can be an irritant and can cause eczema flare-ups in young children. To prevent causing your baby discomfort, try using soap-free washes in the bath or sticking to just warm water and cotton wool to cleanse the skin of very young babies.

Avoid products with fragrances

Fragrance in products such as washing powders and fabric softeners can also irritate

delicate, eczema-prone skin. So next time you’re shopping, be sure to choose a fragrance-free washing detergent, such as Surcare, to wash your baby’s clothes.

Moisturise often

Moisturising your baby’s skin often will help prevent flare-ups. You may also be advised by your doctor to use an emollient cream or even a short course of steroid creams, which can be very effective for treating eczema in babies.

Keep other allergies at bay

Another way to reduce the irritation of eczema is to limit your baby’s exposure to other possible allergens in your home, such as dogs, cats, and dust mites, by washing bedding and soft toys regularly. Keeping the threat of other possible allergens at bay will not only help rashes clear up faster but may also keep flare-ups to a minimum.

Stick to cotton

Certain fabrics can irritate eczema and make the rash worse and more painful. Stick to cotton outfits rather than synthetic fabrics, which can make your baby too warm and can also be an eczema trigger.


The hidden home skin allergy risks

Summer is upon us, and whilst those blue sunny skies and smells of freshly cut grass bring a wealth of happiness for some, others might find themselves worrying about stuffy noses and rashes from hayfever, leaving them sat indoors in a “safe haven” away from the elements. But what if the safe haven of your home was also a cause of allergies?

Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, is here to tell you about the hidden skin allergy risks in your home and how to avoid them.

Your make-up and face creams

Your handbag essentials such as mascara, concealer and foundation may give you the world of confidence but these can also spark off an irritant or allergic reaction in some due to the fragrance and preservatives within the product.

If your face starts to sting or flares red after applying the product you may be having an irritant reaction so beware of product ingredients. Keep your eye out for ingredients labelled as “plant extracts” as these can sometimes cause allergic reaction due to them having tea tree oil, citrus extracts or lavender included.

What if I have had a reaction?

Firstly, you need to find out where the irritation is originating from by eliminating your products one by one. It’s not necessarily a new product that you have only just started using either – sometimes our favourite foundation can go from being our best friend to our arch nemesis as a product that you have been using for a while can cause a reaction all of a sudden.  It also doesn’t matter how much you’ve splashed out on your make-up either – an allergy and irritation flare can still occur regardless of how much you’ve shelled out.

Once the reaction has settled, try testing your products on a small area of the skin (like behind your ear!) to correctly identify any allergy. Bear in mind that even products claiming to be ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’ can cause irritation or allergy.

If you can’t identify the product to which you’re reacting, see a consultant dermatologist and they can organise contact allergy ‘patch’ tests to identify the product to which you might have become allergic.

Cleaning products & washing-up liquid

Chemicals in certain household cleaning products can irritate the skin when the two come into contact with one another. We make sure that our Surcare products don’t include enzymes, dyes or acids and we stay completely fragrance free to protect those hard working hands of yours.

What if I have had a reaction?

Wearing rubber gloves to stop contact with the cleaning or washing-up product is an option to eliminate the risk of potential further irritation.

Laundry detergents and fabric conditioners

Laundry detergents can be harmful to skin as they often contain highly irritable ingredients such as enzymes, dyes, and fragrances. Babies and children often react to products like this as their skin is sensitive and still developing

What if I have had a reaction?

Always turn over and check out the ingredients label so you know exactly what chemicals are going in with your washing.  Even some non-bio products contain fragrances and dyes that can cause irritation so look for a product that doesn’t contain any of these. Switching to a laundry range like Surcare that doesn’t include any enzymes, dyes, acids or even perfumes will help.

Your jewellery

If your costume jewellery leaves a rash or causes your skin to itch you may be allergic to nickel. Nickel is a metal that is used all the time in our everyday lives; especially in jewellery, belt buckles, watches and denim studs. These common, seemingly innocent accessories could be the cause of swelling, itchiness and rashes.

What if I have had a reaction?

You can be wearing something made from nickel for a while before you develop an allergy, but once it flares up you need to avoid wearing it as the metal sensitivity won’t go away.  Pure gold and silver jewellery are a safer bet as they usually don’t irritate skin.