Eczema in the Winter: 10 Tips to Survive
Eczema in the winter- Tips to survive! With the winter season creeping up, frigid temperatures and dry, cold air are becoming all too familiar. Although to many this is ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, it may not be the most wonderful time for our skin! This is especially true if you suffer from eczema or dermatitis. As eczema flares and breakouts of rashes are more common at this time, we’re here to provide you with some sustainable tips.
Steps to reduce eczema breakouts:
Avoid hot showers
You should stay away from long hot showers, and instead take short showers (< 5 minutes) in lukewarm water. Hot water is particularly drying to the skin as it dissolves and strips away our skin’s natural protective oils.
Use a moisturizing soap
A moisturizing bar soap, like Dove, helps to replenish the natural oils that keep our skin soft and smooth. Antibacterial soaps are too harsh for sensitive skin.
Moisturize your skin immediately after showers
Making sure your skin is well moisturized is key for eczema-prone skin, especially in the wintertime when the air is much drier. After showering, you should pat dry your skin, and then immediately apply large amounts of a gentle cream-based skin moisturizer like Eucerin, Cetaphil or Aveeno.
Be sure to always carry moisturizer with you in your bag, and apply it liberally multiple times throughout the day. You can use both cream- and oil-based moisturizers like Aquaphor or Vaseline as many times as you need to alleviate any dryness or itching. Be sure to read up on moisturizers approved by the National Eczema Foundation: https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-products/.
Use mild skincare products
As our skin is much more sensitive during this time of the year, its reactions to our usual skincare products can alter. Avoid soaps and detergents that contain harsh chemicals, dyes or fragrances.
Use a humidifier
Using a humidifier can help add moisture into the dry, winter air and prevent the dryness, cracking and irritation often seen in eczema-afflicted skin.
It’s cold! Bundle up. Layering is essential to protecting your skin from eczema flare-ups and helps your body adjust to rapid temperature changes. Bundle up using soft, natural fabrics like cotton, avoiding harsher fabrics such as wool that can further irritate your skin.
Follow your prescriptions carefully
Make sure you’re seeing a board-certified dermatologist, and pay close attention to your prescriptions. Some medications are suitable only for use on the skin of your body, while others are intended for your face. Be sure not to apply medication on the wrong areas, as this can lead to side effects, like thin, discolored skin.
Eat eczema-friendly foods
That’s right: eczema-friendly foods. Diet is tied to everything. Some research studies have shown that certain foods can worsen eczema symptoms. Stay away from your regular food allergies as they not only trigger your allergic reaction, but can also worsen your eczema. Consult your dermatologist or nutritionist to get the conversation going on what you should or shouldn’t be eating.
As difficult as this may be, try not to scratch. Excessive scratching can further harm your skin and exacerbate eczema symptoms and outbreaks. If you’re having trouble resisting the temptation, try keeping your nails short or wearing gloves.
Cosmetic Dermatology Specialist Columbia MD