When temperatures start to drop, the cold air brings conditions that can irritate your skin. If you have eczema, these factors may provoke a flare-up. With some patience, you can take some easy steps to try to avoid aggravating the skin and managing a breakout if one does occur.
Eczema is a skin condition associated with an overactive immune system, primarily showing up as very dry skin. While the causes of eczema are not completely understood, there are some everyday choices you can make to reduce the chances of a breakout.
Dry air in the winter causes our skin to lose moisture, so keeping up the air moisture levels in your home or office will keep your skin hydrated. Indoor heating systems can also be a culprit for air dryness -- another reason a humidifier is important for winter indoor climate control.
Warm or hot showers and baths in the colder months of the year can be appealing, but they are a main contributing factor to dry skin in the winter. The hot water weakens the skin tissue’s cellular barriers, causing the skin to lose moisture and not hold in hydration and oil as well. Over-drying yourself with your towel also removes moisture from your skin.
Moisturizing after you bathe or wash your face helps keep your skin cells hydrated better than applying them when your skin is already dry. Use effective products that get absorbed by your skin, like oils and creams that are designed for sensitive skin. You can find formulas specifically for eczema as well as kinds that are hypoallergenic.
When you wear clothing that allows airflow, your skin stays dry and can breathe more easily than when you wear tighter clothes. Tight clothes keep in your body heat and absorb your body’s excess moisture as they rub against the skin, creating a wet environment that can cause a skin rash or otherwise irritate your skin and prompt a flare-up in those with eczema.
In addition to absorbing excess sweat and oil, tight fabrics can irritate your skin simply by rubbing against and chaffing it. Wear natural, soft fabrics that don’t itch.
Skin irritation can occur from too little water in your body, which is why staying hydrated and drinking water throughout the day is so important. Water, along with the vitamins and minerals in your diet, can deliver nutrients and hydration to your cells to reproduce in a healthy way, while also flushing toxins that can build up and irritate skin tissue.
When you have an eczema breakout, there are a few options to treat your skin so it will repair and produce new healthy skin as the irritated tissue is shed. Your dermatologist may have already prescribed hydrocortisone or an eczema cream to help calm your skin and alleviate and relieve a flare-up. This hormone cream helps suppress inflammatory responses and is a popular option as an eczema treatment.
Schedule a consultation with a dermatologist today to discuss any concerns you have about managing your eczema this winter.