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Winter Skin Tips
Winter is a difficult time for our skin, and many people get eczema flare-ups during winter because of the changing temperatures and dry air. With eczema, the skin barrier isn’t working as it should. As well as protecting from allergens and irritations, the skin barrier is an important part of controlling the body temperature.
Often, people find that their eczema gets particularly bad on parts of the skin that they expose to the elements in winter, for example, their hands and face.
Dry air combined with indoor heating systems can dry out your skin. Eczema flairs up because the skin cannot stay moist on its own. Flare ups can also be caused by wearing too many layers of clothing, taking hot baths or using too many bed coverings.
Following are some winter tips to help you avoid and deal with your eczema flare-ups in winter:
Avoid Rapid Temperature changes
Avoid abrupt temperature changes, wear gloves, scarves and hats when outside, avoid hot water and hot showers.
Moisturise Moisturise Moisturise!
Wash with a moisture rich soap free wash or sensitive skin bath and shower oil, carry a moisturiser and moisturise at least twice a day – change your moisturising routine for each season.
Drink lots of Water
Keep hydrated to help keep your skin supple and flush out toxins which may irritate your skin.
Humidify dry air
Use a humidifier to combat the dry heat and add moisture back into the air. Keep the house not too warm and not too cold, with humidity between 45 and 55 percent. Sitting in front of fires or radiators are no-nos.
Take off wet items and keep the skin dry
Always practice good hygiene after getting wet and don’t let eczema skin be in contact with damp clothing if you can avoid it. Cold and damp can encourage fungal growth and make eczema worse.
Layer up and Avoid sweating
Try layering so you can control your comfort level. If you do get sweaty, rinse off, pat dry, and moisturise as soon as possible. Choose soft fabrics (even synthetic ones) or cotton clothing.
There are many natural treatments for eczema but research is still underway and it is not yet clear how effective they are for treating eczema. You should always consult your dermatologist before trying new treatments.
Protect your skin from winter sun
Be sure to use sunscreen and check the label for any ingredients your skin may be sensitive to. Studies have suggested that vitamin D supplements can significantly improve the symptoms of eczema or atopic dermatitis.
Acupuncture and acupressure
Although more research is needed, some findings believe that acupuncture may bring itch relief.
A doctor or Specialist can prescribe a variety of creams, medications, and ointments to treat eczema.
If you have a flare-up, use the steroid cream recommended by your Dermatologist.
Avoid hot showers and baths
Limit the time in the bath and Keep your skin moist while bathing by adding some moisturising products to the water such as moisturising oatmeal products. Choose bath products that are fragrance, dye and alcohol free.
Wear gloves outside
Protect your hands and wrists by wearing gloves. Buy a variety of gloves in different fabrics for different weather conditions.
Avoid harsh detergents
Wash clothes in a detergent that is specifically designed for sensitive skin, free of dyes and perfumes. Also avoid softeners unless they are hypoallergenic for sensitive skin.
Stay away from smoke
Whether it’s wood smoke from a fireplace (the heat of which is also drying to skin) or cigarette smoke at a holiday party, smoke may exacerbate eczema symptoms.
If you know that you tend to get an eczema rash around specific allergens or triggers, remember that the most common allergens are worse in winter when there is less ventilation so take preventative measures and try to ventilate your house as much as possible.
Avoid Winter Bugs
Being unwell, such as having a common cold, can make eczema flare. Bacterial and viral infections can also make it worse.
This Information Sheet is provided as a service by the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc to give up-to-date, practical help on certain types of eczema or a particular aspect of its treatment. These Information Sheets are part of our membership package.
It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of Australasia Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment. It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.