If you have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, you have probably realized a pattern with your illness. It flares up for a while and is a real nuisance, and then it fades away again. Before long, it comes back, only to fade into the background once again. Many people just assume this cycle of flare-ups is inevitable, but in most cases, the flare-ups are actually being triggered by something. If you figure out what is triggering your flare-ups, you can avoid that trigger and suffer fewer flare-ups.

Now, every sufferer of atopic dermatitis has different triggers, so figuring out your triggers can take some work. Most professionals recommend keeping a journal so you can look back and see what common factors precede each of your flare-ups. As you do, pay particular attention to the following factors, which are common triggers for many atopic dermatitis patients. 

Dry Skin

For many people, a bout of atopic dermatitis starts with dry skin. The dryness itself causes the skin to over-react and break out. If you keep your skin moist by applying a light, unscented moisturizer daily, you may experience fewer flare-ups.

Scents and Colorants

There are so many different colorants and scents used in conventional shampoos, body washes, and face washes. It's really tough to narrow down which ones you might be sensitive to, so most patients just assume that if one is a trigger, they all are and avoid products that contain any artificial scents or colors.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke contains many different toxins that can trigger a flare-up. If you live with someone who smokes, ask that they smoke outside and stay far away from any clothing they wear while smoking.


Wool is a natural, eco-friendly fabric, but it's not a good choice for many people with atopic dermatitis. If you experience flare-ups after wearing certain clothing, check to see whether they're made from wool. Breathable synthetics are usually a safer bet.

Hot Water

Hot water can trigger a flare-up in several ways. First of all, it can dry your skin out, and as mentioned above, dry skin is a common trigger. The heat itself can also cause your skin to over-react and break out. Take cooler showers with barely warm water for fewer flare-ups.

If you have atopic dermatitis disease, talk to your doctor for more help identifying your atopic dermatitis triggers. There's a good chance one or more of the above is a trigger for you, but there may be others, too.