Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is commonly found in children, but may occur at any age. Eczema is two to three times more prevalent now than it was 30 years ago, particularly in urban areas, leading scientists to believe that its development may be related to high levels of pollution.

While there is no cure for eczema, it can be managed. A major part of any management strategy is identifying which environmental pollutants (triggers) are likely to cause flare-ups, and avoiding them. This is where air purifiers can help!

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic condition that affects the skin. Common symptoms include itchiness, rash, and dry, cracked skin. Persistent scratching often leads to skin infections, thickening and discoloration.

People with eczema usually experience flare-ups, periods of time when their symptoms are acute, which can last for days or weeks on end. The triggers that cause flare-ups differ from person to person.

What causes eczema?

In most people, skin acts as a protective barrier that prevents bacteria, allergens and irritants from entering our body. In people with eczema, the skin’s barrier function is weakened as a result of genetics or other factors. The weakened skin is less able to retain moisture and protect the body from environmental pollutants. When encountering such elements, the immune system goes into overdrive and creates inflammation as a natural defense mechanism.

What air purifiers can do

Air purifiers are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing a variety of environmental pollutants from the air. Residential air purification systems can help people with eczema limit their exposure to potential environmental triggers.

Common eczema triggers

Extreme temperatures can exacerbate skin dryness and irritation in people with eczema, and emotional stress is also known to cause flare-ups. However, most triggers are common allergens and irritants—eczema often co-occurs with allergies and asthma, and is susceptible to similar contaminants. These include:

  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cleaning products
  • Fragrances

How air purifiers help with eczema triggers

Studies have shown that eliminating environmental chemicals and pollutants that are known triggers from the air can improve eczema symptoms. There are a few different types of air purifiers, each of which has its own particular mechanism for removing contaminants. If you have eczema and want to purchase an air purifier, it’s important to determine what your triggers are and find out which air purifiers are most effective against them so you can select the device that’s right for you.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters

A HEPA filter is a finely-woven mechanical filter that traps 99.97% of even the most penetrating airborne particles. This type of air purifier effectively reduces dust, pollen, pet dander, mold and other physical particles that often provoke an immune response.

Since the HEPA filter traps the particles as air passes through, it will eventually become saturated with contaminants. People with eczema should take care when cleaning or changing out the filter—either have someone else do it or make sure to use gloves.

Air purifiers with activated carbon filters

Activated carbon filters are treated with oxygen to make them very porous. The increased surface area creates more chemical attraction, so that airborne molecules adhere to the filter as the air passes through. This type of air purifier captures VOCs, cigarette smoke, perfume and other chemicals and odors that can’t be trapped by physical means.

As more and more molecules stick to the activated carbon filter, it will eventually become saturated and cease to work, at which point it will need to be replaced.

UV air purifiers

UV light air purifiers use high-intensity UVC and UVV wavelengths to destroy airborne contaminants. UVC is a germicidal wavelength that deactivates viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms, while UVV degrades chemicals and odors through oxidation.

The UV process is unique among air purifiers because it actually destroys the pollutants rather than simply trapping them. UV air purifiers also tend to be able to cover larger rooms than other types of air purifiers.

Other flare-up prevention methods

As previously mentioned, one of the most important steps people with eczema can take to prevent flare-ups is to determine what their triggers are and do their best to avoid them. It’s also vital to diligently follow a good skin care routine:

  • Shower every day to keep your skin clean, but limit how much time you spend in the shower and how hot the water is
  • Use non-soap cleanser and avoid scrubbing with a washcloth or loofah
  • When you get out of the shower, gently pat yourself dry rather than wiping or rubbing
  • Moisturize your body within three minutes of getting out of the shower, while your skin is still damp
  • Moisturize at least twice a day

Remember that even the best home management solutions can’t take the place of professional advice. If you have eczema, it’s best to consult a dermatologist who will be able to come up with a treatment and management plan that is tailored to your needs.

Keep pollutants at bay with Sanuvox!

Eczema is a condition that can cause severe discomfort. If you have eczema, you may be scouring the internet for anything that might help alleviate your symptoms or prevent flare-ups. Remember that everyone reacts differently, and not all solutions will work for everyone. You may need to resort to trial and error to figure out what works best for you.

If you’d like to try improving your indoor air quality with the help of an air purifier, contact Sanuvox today! We offer a range of UV air purifiers, some of which also include other filtration and purification systems to eliminate the maximum amount of pollutants. We’ll be happy to assist you!

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