Eczema In Winter
If You Suffer From Eczema In The Winter – Follow These 16 Tips!
1. Expose As Little Skin As Possible
During the colder months of the year, most people prefer to stay indoors to avoid any interaction with the cold but every once in awhile, you may want to go outside to, say, watch the Thanksgiving Day parade or watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. These flare-ups that one may experience are caused because the skin is unable to stay moisturized on its own. When indoors, the temperature is higher leaving your skin, if moisturized sufficiently, to stay moisturized. But when in a cold environment, your skin struggles to do so. It is key to ensure that any exposed skin is covered when being in these cold types of environments. Going out? Try wearing scarves to cover your neck and face, gloves to protect your hands, and earmuffs to cover your ears
2. When You Are Cold, Avoid Hot Water
A seemingly easy way to warm yourself up when cold is to wash your hands in hot water or take a hot shower or bath but this is the very thing you should not do if you have eczema. The hot water quickly changes the temperature of your skin which can cause serious irritation. It is best to wait for your body to warm up naturally before taking high-temperature baths/showers, moisturize thoroughly afterward, and even moisturizing while damp to add a little extra moisture to your skin while moisturizing. For more information on the effects of hot water, be sure to check out our article: Eczema And Hot Showers – Everything You Need To Know!
3. Moisturize Often!
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Moisture is key! To avoid having flare-ups, keep your favorite lotion or cream with you at all times so you can apply when needed. If you go to the bathroom in public, use lotion/cream on your hands to avoid any irritation. For more information on the moisturizing, be sure to check out our article: What Is The Best Hand Cream For Eczema? The Ultimate Guide!
4. Wear Layers When Outdoors
Not only does wearing layers keep you warm, it helps your body to adjust to the cold temperatures much easier. Although wearing layers can, in fact, help with eczema, it can also be a problem if you get too warm. Sweat along with cold temperatures can irritate eczema so it is advised to avoid getting too warm during the cold.
5. Remove Layers When Indoors
Wearing layers is most effective in cold environments. If you are in a warm environment, wear less than you would when going outside in the cold. Like mentioned before, sweating can cause irritation so be sure to monitor your layer according to your environment.
6. Be Mindful Of Clothing Material
Winter is a season for great fashion; warm sweaters, fleeces, and huge scarves! Although these things may be in fashion and extremely comfortable, it may not be the best thing to wear if you have eczema. One should avoid harsh fabrics like wool and fleece due to their ability to irritate the skin even further. It is recommended to wear clothes with natural fabrics like cotton or silk which are delicate on the skin and with an adequate amount of moisture, should cause little to no irritation.
7. Use Natural Treatment Options
The less polluted the product the better! For people with eczema, it is best to use products that have more natural ingredients then artificial as this will decrease the risk of irritation. Some effective natural products to use are sunflower seed oil and coconut oil which can help improve the skin barrier which ultimately decreases the amount of inflammation of the skin. Along with these topical options, it is also recommended to get a message or try acupuncture or acupressure as this can help to control itchiness and inflammation.
8. Use Natural Bathing Remedies
A big part of taking care of your skin is bathing. Instead of bathing in regular soap, try soaking in a warm bath with colloidal oatmeal or small amounts of bath oils. Colloidal oatmeal is good to use if you have eczema because it is a natural skin soother which causes no irritation. Along with soothing the skin, it also attracts and locks in the moisture to your skin ultimately alleviating any irritation or symptoms of itching. Bath oils are helpful for controlling symptoms of eczema because they provide moisture for your skin while soaking making your skin more moisturized prior to moisturizing after a nice soak. Although using both colloidal oatmeal and bath oils help moisturize your skin while bathing, this doesn’t substitute for moisturizing afterward. Your skin needs as much moisture as possible so be sure to moisturize even if you use these remedies.
9. Apply Sunscreen
Even during the winter months, it is good to use sunscreen to prevent the sun from irritating the skin when direct and persistent contact is made.
10. Don’t Scratch!
Scratching is the worst thing you could do when you have a flare-up. When you feel the urge to scratch, don’t! When you scratch, it releases inflammatory mediators which only makes eczema spread making a more unbearable experience. An alternative to scratching would be to slap the area (not too hard) or rub the irritated area. Another alternative would be to wrap ice cubes in a washcloth and pressing it against the irritated area. But whatever you do, DON’T SCRATCH!! For more information on the ways to stop scratching, be sure to check out our article: Do You Want To Stop Scratching FOREVER? Discover The TRUTH About Eczema Gloves
11. Keep Your Skin Dry
This usually only applies to young children with eczema. If you or your child is spending an extended period of time in the rain or snow, be sure to remove any wet or damp clothing. If left on, it can make eczema worse and increase the possibility for fungal growth on the skin. After removing the damp clothing, be sure to cleanse thoroughly. Take a warm shower or bath after your body has warmed up naturally, and moisturize thoroughly.
12. Use A Humidifier!
During the winter, the air indoors can become much dryer due to the persistent cold which ultimately affects your skin. The dryer your environment, the dryer your skin. To reduce the amount of dry air in your home, a humidifier is a great way to restore moisture to the air. Using a humidifier to provide moisture for the air and moisturizing thoroughly should result in non-irritated skin and comfortable time at home. For more information on humidifiers for eczema, be sure to check out our article: Humidifiers for eczema – Why should you buy one?
13. Get Some Vitamin D
Whether it’s supplements or even going outside and getting some sun, vitamin D is an essential way to decrease inflammation due to eczema. Vitamin D helps strengthen your immune system which ultimately reduces inflammation levels and strengthens the skin barrier. If you have eczema and low vitamin D this can be very dangerous and subject you to develop painful skin infections. In order to avoid such an occurrence, it is best to ensure high vitamin D levels to manage eczema symptoms. For more information on the benefits of Vitamin D for eczema, be sure to check out our article: Benefits of vitamin D and eczema.
14. Use Prescribed Medicated Lotions Or Creams
For people who have mild to severe cases of eczema, a doctor may prescribe medicated lotions, creams, or ointments to help control the symptoms. If your doctor has prescribed such a thing for you, don’t hesitate to use it! Some medications may require you to moisturize prior to its use, so be sure to use a good moisturizer before applying the medicated lotion, cream or ointment. Note: If you don’t have access to a doctor or can’t afford one be sure to read our article, What’s the best eczema cream in the world? My Personal Opinion!
15. Watch What You Eat!
For people who have eczema, a diet is everything. You never know what foods might cause your eczema to flare up. It is recommended to stay away from foods with high citrus content, dairy, eggs, gluten, wheat, soy, spices, and tomatoes. This may seem like a lot of food but it has not been proven that these foods are direct causes or inflamers to eczema. Some foods to eat which reduce inflammation from eczema are fatty fish such as salmon and herring, foods that contain quercetin like apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach and kale and foods that contain probiotics like sourdough bread, miso soup, and soft cheeses. Foods such as these contain antioxidants and antihistamines which help decrease the likelihood of having a flare-up. You may also be interested in:
- Foods to avoid with eczema and psoriasis-You will be surprised!
- Foods that make you itch – Stop that irresistible urge to itch!
Note: We recommend you grab a copy of Karen Fischer’s book entitled, “The Eczema Diet: Discover How to Stop and Prevent The Itch of Eczema Through Diet and Nutrition” – Available on Amazon!
16. Avoid Stress!
Stress is a more common trigger for eczema flare-ups. When you become stressed, your body becomes more anxious which ultimately leads to more eczema flare-ups. Along with this, your body also releases cortisol when stressed which weakens the immune system making your skin more prone to have an inflammatory response.
Although there may seem to be a ton of things to do and remember in order to have and maintain healthy skin during the winter months, it is always good to remember the basics; cleanse, treat and moisturize! Following those three basic steps will ensure a better lifestyle for those who have eczema! This article was written by Jeslyn Savage. Jeslyn is a contributor and content developer for Our Eczema Story. She is not a medical professional. Her articles, comments, and suggestions are not intended to replace any medical advice. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker, GP or Doctor. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials.