Are your kitchen habits causing your hand eczema? One of the most frustrating things about eczema is that seemingly normal, daily activities can cause irritation and flares. Something as simple as preparing dinner could be irritating your skin, however there are protective strategies that can help.
Kitchen irritation can come in the form of:
- Exposure to irritating foods.
- Repeated contact with water and soaps.
- Exposure to allergens like antimicrobial chemicals.
- Prolonged glove wearing.
- Extreme changes of environmental and surface temperature.
Handling Food Products
It’s best to wear gloves when handling most of your food. Foods can be both chemical and physical irritants. There are acidic foods like citrus, or foods with irritating fibers like kiwi. The protein in meats and dairy can be irritating. Also, many vegetables like potatoes, peppers, onions, and tomatoes can bother your skin.
Also be cautious when exposing your hands to extreme hot or cold temperatures, like hot pots and pans, or cold items like scooping ice cream.
Washing the Dishes
Avoid ‘dishpan hands’ which may actually be a form of eczema. This condition occurs from repeatedly wetting and drying hands which breaks down the skin’s protective barrier. Soaps with perfumes and preservatives are also irritating. If you have a dishwasher, let the machine do the work whenever possible. When that’s not possible, waterproof gloves should be warn though never for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Wash the dishes as quickly as possible and then moisturizing your hands immediately afterwards is a better option than exposing your hands to the constant wet and dry conditions of dishwashing.
Wearing rings can actually trap irritants underneath the rings, against your skin. Remove all rings when doing kitchen work, and also for other household work like cleaning and laundry. Clean your rings regularly with a tablespoon of ammonia in a pint of water. Soak the rings in the solution over night and then rinse them in the morning.
About Kitchen Gloves
Generally speaking disposable vinyl gloves are best for handling and chopping food. When you’re done preparing these foods, throw the gloves away. Waterproof gloves are best for washing dishes, but never wear them for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.
Moisturize with Vaniply or or another moisturizer of choice as soon as you’ve removed the gloves. Keep a good moisturizer near your kitchen sink.
Navigating the kitchen can be a challenge when you suffer from eczema, but with the right habits and precautions, it’s possible to avoid irritation. With a little practice, speedy use of gloves to avoid contact with irritants will become a faster and easier habit and you’ll be able to avoid triggering your eczema flare-ups.
Let us know what gloves and hand lotion you prefer for your eczema hands. This will help other eczema sufferers.