Tips for Living with Eczema This Winter

Tips for Living with Eczema This Winter

Have you been battling more frequent eczema flare-ups lately? The changing seasons could be to blame.

Eczema is a common chronic skin condition in which various triggers cause the skin to become red and itchy. For many eczema sufferers, a major trigger is cold, dry outdoor air. But, it’s not always better inside, because another common trigger is dry indoor air.

But, while the winter season can bring worsening eczema symptoms, there are things you can do to help avoid flare-ups.

Oswald Mikell, MD, and our team at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry specialize in treating eczema. We work with people of all ages to develop eczema care plans that fit their needs. If you’re worried about winter eczema flare-ups, take a look at our tips.

Moisturize regularly

Eczema makes skin dry and scaly. Moisturizing is one of the best ways to minimize symptoms no matter the time of year, but it can be particularly helpful during the cold winter months.

Try a thick moisturizer and apply it over your skin after every bath or shower. Dr. Mikell can recommend over-the-counter moisturizers or prescribe prescription-strength ointment for eczema patches.

Avoid hot baths and showers

Taking a steaming shower or soaking in a hot bath might feel good at the time, but hot water can contribute to drier skin, and it can make eczema flare-ups worse.

Bathe and wash your hands in warm — not hot — water all year. And, if you’re particularly cold, try to wait to wash until your skin has warmed. Washing your hands or showering in warm water when your skin is cold could irritate your skin.

Wear layers to protect your skin

Rapid temperature changes can trigger itchy flare-ups for people with eczema. In the winter, moving from warm temperatures indoors to cold temperatures outdoors could increase your skin’s sensitivity.

When you’re outside, consider wearing a scarf to protect your neck and face and gloves to protect your hands, particularly if those areas are prone to eczema flare-ups. Layers give you the ability to cover up when you're outdoors and shed layers once you’re back inside.

Use a humidifier in your home

Winter air is dry, and indoor heating systems can make the air inside your home drier, too. Using a humidifier can add moisture back into the air, and it can make your skin feel more comfortable during the winter.

Catch some rays

While too much sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer and premature aging, a small amount of sunlight can actually reduce eczema symptoms. Your skin needs vitamin D from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to rebuild and repair, but the sun doesn’t shine as much in the winter.

Dr. Mikell may recommend UVB light therapy to stimulate healthy skin cell regeneration. For some people, taking vitamin D supplements could also reduce eczema symptoms.

Winter weather doesn’t have to mean more frequent eczema flare-ups. Talk to Dr. Mikell and our team to find a winter eczema treatment plan that’s right for you. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry today.

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