I thought I knew everything there was to know about my allergies, but Awair proved me wrong.
I was born with eczema, a hereditary skin condition that leaves me with dry, red, itchy and flaky rashes that, at some points, covered most of my body. From a young age my Mother started carting me around from one doctor to the next, trying out new topical creams and diets to manage my flare ups. I quickly learned how to read labels to find trigger ingredients, what brands of lotion are best for sensitive skin and never bought scented soap again. In highschool I made sure to use latex-free gloves in science class and now always carry around a bottle of lotion in my purse since my skin dries out fast. I felt that knowing everything there is to know about eczema and triggers.
Then I started working for Bitfinder, the makers of Awair.
See, I knew that the air played a big part in my skin health, but I really just knew what was on the “surface”. I grew up in Wisconsin, so my eczema was always the worst in the winter when everyone was blasting heaters. I would then usually have another bad flare-up in the spring and another in the height of the humid Wisconsin summers, these I just chopped the cause up to changing seasons and my uber sensitive skin being out to get me. And I was correct, the changing seasons were causing flare-ups. But there was, and still is, a whole lot more going on in the air that is irritating my skin.
Back to working with Bitfinder. I’m their community manager and the writer behind most of the blogs so each week I do a ton of research on how air quality influences skin and lung health. I can’t tell you the amount of times I stumbled across a fact that I wish I knew when I was 9 and my Mom made me sleep with gloves on to stop me scratching my rashes all night. Or when she had me take literal flax seed oil shots since one doctor recommend flax seeds as a way to hinder eczema (you never want to take flax seed oil shots, believe me). It turns out that my home and school’s air quality was probably the biggest eczema trigger and I spent 23 years blaming other causes. Here’s the quick breakdown of how air affected my skin health:
- Indoor air can contain hundreds of chemicals and toxins. Everyone’s skin is bothered by these toxins, but people with eczema and other skin conditions are uber sensitive to them.
- The moisture in the air is also important to keep at a constant. Really dry air or really humid air are both bad for skin health.
- I grew up in a 100+ year old farm house without a proper air system, old wood, old installation and tons of animals living in the roofs and walls. All of these elements are in some way or another an eczema trigger.
- Living in a climate and home where 9 months out of the year are spent indoors with the windows shut and heat blasting meant that my skin was not only being attacked from a moisture standpoint, but it was also bombarded by irritating toxins day in and day out.
No wonder my eczema was so such a problem as a child! My family and I had no idea that the air in our home and my school was the culprit. We could have saved so many headaches if we knew that between the hours of 1–4am when our heaters were off for the night that the air moisture level normalized and my skin was the happiest. Or that the art classroom was causing flare-ups due to all chemicals in art supplies being released into the air. We would have been able to do preventive measures like turn on a humidifier when needed, make sure I use extra lotion on really cold days or talk to the art teacher to see if she could crack a window during class. Knowing really does give you power, but only if you know the right information.
Working with Bitfinder/Awair has really opened up my eyes to the world of skin health, as well as lung and allergy health. I thought I knew everything there was to know about eczema, but they proved me wrong. For the better.
Awair is launching later this month. Head to www.bitfinder.co to subscribe to alerts for when pre-orders go live.