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My dust mite allergy results in a number of different symptoms. Among the worst is eczema which makes my skin itchy, red, and inflamed. Before I was tested for allergies I felt helpless with my eczema. I thought there was nothing I could do about it.
As a last resort I went to an allergist and was tested. After being diagnosed with dust mite allergy I listened to the wisdom of my allergist and implemented a few lifestyle changes that have helped reduce my eczema.
By following a routine that focuses on hydration, bathing, moisturizing, and sleeping I’ve been able to get my eczema symptoms under control. In this article I share simple solutions that worked for me.
While following one tip might not lead to much improvement, I’ve found that following a number of the steps below add up to significant relief.
If you’re also struggling to get your eczema under control I recommend visiting a reputable allergist to be tested for dust mites and other aeroallergens.
Once you figure out your irritants, it will help you better manage your eczema. We hope this helps in your search for relief.
No. 1 Stay Hydrated
You’ve likely seen athletes that carry around a jug of water? Well, even if you’re not an athlete, you should always have a water bottle handy.
Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up and drink enough that you have to visit the bathroom 3-4 times during work. If your urine is dark that’s the first sign of dehydration.
It may sound strange but monitoring the color of your urine will help remind you to drink water. If you’re drinking lots of water your skin will appreciate it and your eczema should be less dry.
No. 2 Bathe in Lukewarm or Cool Water
Never use hot water! When showering we all like a steamy warm bath, but hot water will rinse away beneficial oils that our body worked so hard to create.
These oils help keep our skin supple and elastic feeling and they help protect our skin from the elements or wind and ultra violet light.
If you’re brave, get into the habit of taking cold baths or showers. Under cold water your pores will close up and help protect your natural oils from washing off your body.
Some scientists say it helps with focus, mental toughness, and brain stimulation.
No. 3 Use Gentle Skin Cleansers (or only use soap under arms and between legs)
Avoid harsh soaps whenever possible. Soaps are great to clear bacteria but remember, not all bacteria is bad. Soap is essential to use for various crevices on our body and I do recommend using them.
However, if you have eczema outbreaks on your arms, face, and legs, you might want to refrain from using soaps as it will dry out your skin further. After all, what did people use long ago when there wasn’t soap?
I’ve gotten in the habit of rinsing most of my body without soap and it works well to reduce eczema flare-ups.
No. 4 Take Baths Quickly
Speed baths have become part of my daily routine. Yes, I miss taking long, hot showers but bath water is static, softer on skin, and it’s easier to control the temperature of bathwater than shower water.
If possible don’t use a shower, as shower heads force water against our skin. I once read a beauty article that talked about how models wash their face who – they never let hot water spray against it, rather they cup water in their hands and splash it against their face to rinse.
I aim for 5 minutes or less.
No. 5 Pat Dry When Exiting Bath
One thing most people with eczema have learned is never rub the towel against your body when drying off. Instead, use the pat method and gentle pat your body dry.
Similar to soap, rubbing a towel against your body will strip away important oils from the epidermis (outer layer of skin). It takes a little longer to dry off this way but will help you stay hydrated.
Another thing you can dry is the air-dry method that involves no towel – similar to Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie Jerry Maguire.
No. 6 Immediately Moisturize, Then Moisturize Again
Another important thing to do is to apply moisturizer within a few minutes of bathing. Cetaphil works great but in my opinion grape seed oil and extra virgin coconut oil are the best.
They apply thinly and won’t irritate skin. Better yet, they are completely natural and inexpensive beauty products rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
No. 7 Sleep on Dust Mite Proof Covers
If you have allergic eczema caused by dust mites, your eczema may worsen when it’s in contact with dust mites. Because dust mites love the heat and warmth of our beds, we are prone to allergy when laying in them.
If you use dust mite proof covers your skin will be more protected and you should feel the difference. One night sleeping on a pillow without a dust mite cover and I wake up with eye swelling and a rash around my eyes, ears, and nose. I even take a dust mite cover when I travel!
Related: Best Dust Mite Proof Pillow Cover
No. 8 Use a HEPA Air Purifier and Vacuum
The important thing to consider here is the term HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrestance). These filters will collect the finest particles in the air – specifically those we can’t see that we’re allergic to.
If you have allergies and use a vac or air purifier without a HEPA filter then you might exacerbate your allergies instead of improving them. Less allergens in your home = better eczema control.
No. 9 Use a Dehumidifier in the Summer
Summer temperatures in the summer can leave people with eczema inflamed and feeling uncomfortable. For some reason, hot weather, cool weather, and humidity can really make eczema worse.
In the West, summers are usually dry, but in much of the U.S. humidity is associated with summer.
Dust mites love humidity because they absorb all their moisture needs from the air (no need for drinking). Humidity can result in dust mite population booms – exactly what people with allergic eczema don’t want!
A dehumidifier will help remove moisture from inside your house and discourage dust mites from getting too comfortable.
No. 10 Use a Better HVAC Filter
If you’ve read our blog before, you know that I always recommend using a high quality HVAC filter. The selection at your local handy-man store won’t include many allergy quality filters, however many brands exist and they do a great job of removing dust from your air (you’d be surprised at how polluted your indoor air is).
In addition to dust, high-quality HVAC filters can remove bacteria and odors. We like Filtrete’s selection, but we’re currently using Nordic Pure filters and like the price better!
In the photo below, notice Nordic Pure has structural support (left) while the Filtrete lack support in the middle. Nordic Pure is a fraction of the cost and is available in allergy quality options.
I always turn on the HVAC vent when I’m cleaning because I stir up dust and dirt and the HVAC sucks in air. The high-quality filters catch dust mites and other allergens. It helps me clean the house!
No. 11 Become a Minimalist
Living with dust mite allergy and eczema can be a headache. There is a trendy new term out there called “minimalism” and it could help your dust mite allergy (my article on minimalism and allergy).
Minimalism is a mindset as much as a lifestyle but I like using the concept for my house. This means less clutter and less stuff. Clean floors and shelves make life less stressful and much easier to clean.
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle can help bring peace of mind and improved health if you have eczema. Stuffed animals, books, and piles on stuff on the floor are dust traps that make cleaning a challenge – it’s a hassle to move things for cleaning.
One cool thing my family did was to invest in a murphy-bed. Murphy beds fold up when you’re not sleeping and open a room. This creates a larger living area and makes it way easier to clean.
No. 12 Say Goodbye to Carpets
If you want to improve your eczema caused by dust mites, you should really get rid of carpets. Hard flooring is so easy to clean compared to carpets.
You might be thinking “Well, I vacuum regularly”. Even if you vacuum daily with the best vacuum available it won’t remove all the dirt and dust from carpets.
After a few years, the amount of dust will be so great that you’ll be living in filth – you won’t realize it but it’s true.
Carpets are so comfortable and soft to walk on in the cold winter months, but they are a dust mite’s dream. If you’ve ever removed carpets from an old house you’ll understand what I mean when I say carpets are filthy.
Not everyone has the option to remove carpets. If you’re a renter look at places with hard flooring.
If you must have carpets then be diligent about vacuuming and every few months use a carpet cleaner or shampooer for a deep clean – they work great!
No. 13 Eye Drops and Nose Spray
This tip was an important addition to my daily routine. I’ve always battled eye eczema from my allergies and my nose was often stuffed up. I attribute this to the allergens in my nose and eyes.
I’m terribly afraid of steroid eye drops and nasal sprays because of the potential side-effects. However, I found two products that help my eyes and sinuses.
- Artificial tears are great for cleaning out eyes after a long day. You can find them without synthetic ingredients or preservatives. I use these every night and I believe they help get rid of allergens in my eyes. They are basically an eye rinse.
- Saline nasal spray. I tried nasal rinse (neti pots) but didn’t like how it felt in my nose. Now I use a saline spray – with no preservatives – to help moisturize and wash our my sinuses. Similar to the eye drops, I spray inside each nostril before bedtime then gently blow my nose. In doing so, I know my nose is hydrated before I sleep. If my nose dries out I tend to get more allergy symptoms. Check the ingredients carefully to make sure your eye drops and nasal sprays don’t have chemicals.
If you’re like me and suffer from dust mite allergy and eczema, know that there is hope. First, you’ll want to confirm your allergy so you can make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Next, you’ll want to look at your home environment, including your flooring, bedding, cleaning equipment, and showering habits. Are you doing your best to reduce irritation on your skin?
Implementing a few of these skin soothing actions should result in less eczema flare-ups and happier skin. In the beginning, it was tough for me to remember all these things and change my behavior (especially short, cold showers).
Yet relatively quickly, you will get used to the changes and they’ll become comfortable. Since I was diagnosed with eczema due to allergy, I’ve been able to pinpoint many of my irritants and reduce my exposure to dust and dust mites.
Although it may be frustrating to live with dust mite allergy and eczema, know that there are many of us going through the same challenges. Stay positive and adopt lifestyle changes that will help your skin feel better.