Although it may be easier to deal with eczema during the warm, summer months, you may find yourself struggling more with eczema in winter time. This is because eczema already causes your skin to dry, but winter air is cool and dry, to begin with. The combination can cause skin that won’t stop itching, and that looks as bad as it feels because of a winter eczema rash. However, you can combat some effects of winter eczema, on your face, hands, and body, by following these 21 skincare guidelines.
- Skip the Hot Water
Managing eczema in winter starts before you even wash your face. If you like your shower super hot, you could be irritating your eczema. Instead, turn the temperature down to a bit to avoid aggravating your skin.
- Choose the Right Soap
You’re probably already aware that you need to cleanse with the right product to avoid making your eczema any worse. The best product will be moisturising without harsh ingredients such as alcohol. Fragrances and dyes can also irritate your skin condition, so skip them. Calming ingredients like aloe or chamomile may be beneficial. Hope’s Relief Soap Free Cleansing Bar Some people simply cleanse with natural oil such as coconut oil, which is also moisturising.
- Pat Dry
Although it’s normal to rub a towel on your skin to dry it, you could be doing more harm than good if you have eczema. Try patting yourself dry with a super-soft towel to minimise damage. If you have time, air-drying may also be less hard on your skin.
- Cover Up
Skin that’s exposed to the elements (wind, sun, etc.) may show more signs of eczema in winter time. Make sure to wear gloves, hats, and scarves when appropriate, especially if you have eczema on your face in winter.
- Avoid Certain Fabrics
Stiff or scratchy materials, including nylon, wool, or rough linen, are no friend to skin with eczema. If you follow the advice on this list but find that you still suffer from eczema in winter on hands, make sure your gloves aren’t made from wool! You might find that a thin pair of silk gloves under your regular winter gloves helps you condition.
Opt for light fabrics like cotton, instead, and try not to layer them on.
- Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise
Add moisture to your skin before it has a chance to dry out if you find that you have worse eczema in winter. A thick moisturiser that absorbs into the skin is a better preventative of dry skin, and using cocoa or Shea butter directly is one option. Apply one in the morning before you put on any make-up and at night after cleansing your face. Don’t worry about using too much. Adults should use approximately 500 grams of moisturiser a week, twice as much as children, while infants require 125 grams.
- Keep Hydrated
Your skin doesn’t just need moisturiser from the outside: internal hydration may help improve a winter eczema rash by moisturising your skin from the inside out. Keep a bottle on you to ensure that you’re drinking enough.
- Supplement with Vitamin D
Some people find that managing eczema in winter is easier when they take Vitamin D supplements, and at least one study backs this up. Fortunately, these supplements are readily available and affordable, and you don’t even need a prescription!
- Turn On Your Humidifier
Do you struggle with eczema in winter only? It could be that your heater is drying out your skin even as it warms your body. Extra static is a sure sign of a dry home. Make sure to keep a humidifier running to combat the dry air.
- Know Your Skin
While these tips can help you deal with eczema in winter months, some advice might actually make your condition worse. Everyone’s skin is different. While some people find that humidity causes flare-ups others may find it soothing. The sun is especially tricky because it can be soothing to some skin with eczema but may cause others to suffer. Make sure to wear SPF when you’re in the sun (but it should physically block UV rays with minerals)!
- Maintain Temperature
Why does winter make eczema worse? Going from a warm house or car to cold air can wreak havoc as your skin struggles to adjust and overheats instead. Keep each room in your home the same temperature and try not to keep it much warmer than the outside air. Gradually increase heat to not shock your skin.
- Dress in Layers
Stay away from the thick jackets or clothing and opt for thin layers that can be removed one at a time. This helps to minimise dramatic temperature changes. You can also wear protective layers under sweaters. Similarly, don’t overdo it with bedding layers.
- Avoid Sweating
Sometimes preparing for cooler, winter weather actually leads to sweating because you overdo it. Avoid sweating when possible and, when not, rinse off sweat right away before it can irritate your skin.
- Ditch Wet Clothing
If you happen to get wet when you’re outside, swap the wet clothing and shoes for dry ones as soon as possible. Make sure to dry off completely before changing.
- Watch Your Diet
Does your winter diet contain more milk, wheat, eggs, or fish? Then it might be the cause of those eczema flare-ups. Stick to foods without these ingredients or with substitutes.
- Try An Antihistamine
Antihistamines are an effective treatment for itchy eczema if nothing else on this list helps your winter skin rash.
- Reduce Indoor Allergens
Be careful when you’re cooped up inside to avoid the cold. Your air could be full of allergens that irritate your skin and cause eczema flare-ups. Use dust-covers on mattresses and pillows and consider an air purifier.
- Wear Eczema Gloves
You can purchase eczema gloves for nightly (or daily) moisturising. You wear these gloves after applying a thick layer of lotion or oil, and the gloves help keep your skin hydrated.
- Try a Wet Wrap
Wet wrap therapy for eczema might sound a little strange, but it can be quite helpful in winter. First, you soak wraps, which may be gloves, socks, or bodysuits, in water for 15 minutes, then bathe in warm water with your gentle cleanser before patting dry with your towel. Next, apply lotion to your skin, wring out excess water from your wraps and dress in them. Wear a layer of dry clothing over the wraps.
Exfoliating removes all that dead, flaky skin that’s causing you to itch. If your skin doesn’t like physical exfoliants, you can try a chemical toner that may be gentler. Be sure not to overdo it.
- Talk To Your Doctor
If you’re struggling from winter eczema, it might be time to talk to your doctor to explore medical treatments.
Dry, red, and itchy skin in winter isn’t the end of the world. Some people find that they experience eczema in winter only and can ameliorate the symptom with a bit of careful planning.