There are many reasons to look forward to winter, such as enjoying the first snowflakes. Most of us love participating in winter sports, sipping a warm beverage, and bundling up in warm clothes. However, many people experience discomfort from winter eczema when temperatures drop. Dry skin diseases like eczema are typically exacerbated by exposure to the chilly outside temperature and bursts of dry inside heat, which may damper the season. Those who have winter eczema don't have to take it lying down. Instead, you may learn how to fight winter eczema flares by understanding what it is and how to control it. This simple guide has outlined all you need to know about your winter eczema flare-ups.
What is eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by an itchy, red, scaly rash on the skin's surface. This skin condition can be quite a nuisance. For example, because of the itchiness, people with eczema may have problems sleeping.
The following are some of the signs that you may have eczema:
- nighttime itching that might be intense
- areas of the skin that are dry and scaly, ranging in color from red to brown
- tender raised lumps that could bleed if touched or scratched
- skin that is thick, dry, cracked, and scaly
- delicate and sensitive skin
Understanding the Causes
Before diving into remedies, it's equally important to understand why eczema is prevalent in winter. The skin is our largest organ and the primary barrier against environmental aggressors. Cold air is less capable of holding moisture, leading to drier conditions, both indoors and out. This drop in humidity means the skin can't retain its moisture as effectively, leading to dehydration and the aggravation of conditions like eczema. The skin's barrier function becomes compromised, allowing allergens and irritants easier access, triggering eczema flare-ups.
Why is it worse in winter?
Many dermatologists believe winter is the worst time for eczema because colder temperatures cause “winter skin”- it dries up and becomes more sensitive to the inflammatory process.
Eczema sufferers tend to find their flare-ups grow worse in winter since our bodies are more stressed in cold weather conditions. Additionally, skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema dry out from the sunshine, so a lack of it affects the skin.
Now that you understand what your eczema is and what happens to it during the colder months, it’s time to learn how to keep it under control.
An often-overlooked aspect of controlling eczema is diet. Hydrating from the inside out is just as crucial. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon, can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health. Also, drinking ample water supports overall hydration, proving beneficial for skin conditions. Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, which support gut health, might also play a role in reducing eczema severity.
How to fight winter eczema flares
There are many ways to put a halt to your winter eczema flare-up. During this time, you need to take special care of your skin. Here are ways to fight for better skin.
1. Wear gloves
Putting gloves on before venturing into the cold shouldn't be a hassle. Gloves have two purposes in cold weather: they keep your hands warm and shield them from the dry air that can irritate and worsen eczema. Doing the dishes or any other task that might expose your hands to chemicals or irritants necessitates using gloves, namely plastic ones. Keep your hands from getting too sweaty by taking breaks from wearing gloves. Your eczema may also become worse if you sweat a lot.
Gloves are your best friends when you want to fight winter eczema flares.
2. Use a humidifier
Your heating system pumps hot air into your home at high pressure. That probably makes your eczema flare up. A humidifier will help you cope with the dry heat. A humidifier replenishes the air with moisture. Luckily, nowadays, the options for humidifiers are numerous. Both standalone and central humidifiers are available.
Keeping the humidifier in good working order is essential to stop the spread of mold and mildew. Humidifiers must have the water changed, and the unit cleaned around once every three days. If you can, use demineralized or distilled water. If you use a humidifier to add moisture to the air you breathe, then keeping the humidifier clean will contribute to your respiratory health, along with helping you fight winter eczema flares.
3. Mind the temperature
During the dry winter, you might be tempted to soak in the tub to help keep your skin wet and your body warm. However, you should keep your showers and baths to no more than 15 minutes. That is because your skin should retain as much natural oil as possible. When you finish showering, pat yourself dry gently. Apply your skin lotion to seal in the moisture.
Keep the temperatures mild to fight winter eczema flares.
Avoid Rapid Temperature Changes
While it's tempting to move from a cold environment directly to a warm one, rapid temperature changes can exacerbate eczema symptoms. Try to allow your body to adapt gradually. This could mean waiting a few minutes in a cooler indoor area before heading out into the cold or vice versa.
4. Release stress
Scratching and worrying about one's eczema make it worse. For example, many people don’t know how to cope with moving stress, so they experience eczema flares as an effect of stress on the skin. You need to keep stress at bay during these kinds of situations. You can lower your eczema symptoms by regularly engaging in stress-reduction practices like deep breathing and meditation and generally searching for ways to lessen your stress.
To fight winter eczema flares, stick to a consistent moisturizing routine. That goes as a general tip for healthy winter skin. However, in the winter, a lightweight moisturizer won't do the trick as it does in the summer and spring. It is crucial to lather the skin with heavier creams in the winter, such as body butters to provide additional protection and keep the skin well moisturized. For natural products, browse Emollient.
For optimal results apply on damp skin after a shower or bath to help seal the moisture.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Fabrics are important
Wearing irritating fabric is not a good idea when your eczema is acting up. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon during the colder months. Just as you’re using natural remedies for your eczema, you should also wear natural textiles. Look for fibers like cotton, silk, and cashmere on the labels of your favorite knitwear. Even though wool and mohair are great at retaining body heat, they have the unfortunate side effect of irritating the skin. Instead of throwing away that lovely wool sweater (or any other possibly irritating garments), you can put on a cotton layer underneath.
During the winter months fight winter eczema flares ups by sleeping on cotton bedding.
Choose Gentle Skincare Products
When selecting skincare for winter, especially for eczema-prone skin, avoid products with fragrances, alcohol, and other potential irritants. Opt for gentle, hydrating cleansers instead of harsh soaps. When buying over-the-counter creams, look for those specifically formulated for eczema or with ingredients known for their soothing properties, like aloe butter used in our Sensitive Skin Butter.
By following the suggestions outlined in this blog, such as keeping skin moisturized, wearing gloves to protect the hands from cold and dry air, and avoiding hot showers and baths you can effectively manage eczema flare ups during the winter season.