Eczema Flare-Ups in Winter

Submitted by Patrick Hatfield on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 4:39 pm

One of the most common skin conditions is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. Eczema is inflammation of the skin that is typically itchy, dry, and red, and can be a lifelong condition for some. About 1 in 10 children will be diagnosed with eczema before the age of 5. If the eczema ends up being a lifelong condition for the child, flare-ups can occur frequently. Usually, these flare-ups will get worse during the Fall or Winter, since these are the colder seasons. Even though eczema is a very resilient skin condition, there are ways to help prevent the cold month flare-ups.

Why Do Flare-Ups Happen?
Eczema flare-ups can be worse during the cold seasons because the dry air from outside mixed with the heating systems indoors can dry out your skin, and the skin can't stay moist on its own. Wearing too many layers of clothing, taking baths that are too hot, and not moisturizing enough can also be contributing factors to these breakouts.

Bathing/Showering
There are many things to avoid in the bath or shower that can lessen the likeliness of a flare-up. One of those things is hot water. Frequent hot baths or showers can dry out the skin, so using warm water, and bathing less frequently can help keep moisture in your skin. Another thing that will help keep your skin moisturized during baths is adding moisturizing products to the water, like moisturizing oatmeal products. Also make sure your bath time is still limited, even with the moisturizing products, and skip bubble baths all together. Use gentle soap that is fragrance, dye, and alcohol free. (This goes for your detergents as well.) The last thing you can do during bath time to help your skin is to pat yourself dry with a towel. Rubbing may scratch the eczema and make you itchy, whereas patting will avoid this while still leaving a little moisture.

Moisturizing
You should be moisturizing frequently, especially when the weather is cold. Make sure the moisturizer you are using is free of fragrances and look for moisturizers with ceramides to restore your skin's barrier. Also using a thick moisturizer and applying it immediately after showering can reduce the dryness. A good option for a thick moisturizer is Petroleum Jelly, or Vaseline. 

Clothing
Certain materials such as nylon, wool, and others can irritate your skin and cause your flare-ups to worsen. Avoiding these materials and wearing breathable materials, such as cotton, will not irritate your skin as much and will help soothe your skin. However, even if you are wearing these breathable materials, still try to avoid wearing too many layers of clothing, as this can lead to overheating, thus leading to more break outs. Similarly to your clothing, your bed sheets should also be made of breathable material and you should get rid of any unnecessary layers.

Drink Enough Water
As you probably know, most people are not drinking enough water throughout the day, even though it is very important. However, drinking enough water during the day is even more important to prevent eczema flare-ups. When your body is hydrated, it keeps your skin hydrated and helps keep your skin moisturized. You should be drinking at least 8 cups of water per day. This can include tea, coffee, and sparkling water. If none of these options sound good to you, you can also add some fruit to your water, like lemons or strawberries, or even try water with a cinnamon stick!