Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become red, dry, irritated, and inflamed in the affected area, and it can occur occasionally or chronically. Cold air, wind, and a decrease in humidity during winter combine to make symptom flare-ups more frequent in some people with eczema. Here are some steps to help you navigate the winter season without suffering the discomfort of eczema or to help you reduce your eczema outbreak that appears in cold weather.
How to combat the cold with skin prone to eczema?
Advice #1: Hydrate your skin immediately after showering
Advice #2: Avoid scented lotions and laundry detergents
Advice #3: Avoid long hot baths
Advice #4: Maintain rooms at a consistent temperature and with a proper humidity level
Advice #5: Ventilate your interior
Advice #6: Cover up as much as possible when going outside
Advice #7: Avoid irritating textile materials
Advice #1: Hydrate your skin immediately after showering.
In winter, the skin requires extra attention in terms of hydration, especially for those prone toeczema. During the winter months, it is recommended to apply a thick moisturizing cream right after showering to lock in moisture while your skin is still damp. Additionally, pay special attention to sensitive skin areas that are vulnerable to exposure, such as the hands and face, when you go outside.
During this time of the year, switch to a different emollient to help combat the drying effects of weather conditions like an ointment, which is very effective at retaining water in the skin, or a moisturizing cream that draws water into the epidermis from the dermis.
During the winter months, it may be necessary to moisturize your skin at regular intervals, more than once a day.
Advice #2: Avoid scented lotions and laundry detergents.
Some cosmetic ingredients can be triggers that worsen eczema. Stick to products that are fragrance-free, essential oil-free, alcohol-free, and hypoallergenic.
Advice #3: Avoid long hot baths.
After the cold winter days, there is sometimes nothing better than relaxing in a hot bath. However, hot water tends to dry out the skin and cause inflammation by removing the protective hydrolipidic film on the skin's surface. It is rather preferable tochoose lukewarm showers for short periods (5 to 10 minutes).
Advice #4: Maintain rooms at a consistent temperature and with a proper humidity level.
While indoor heating systems help to keep us warm, they also remove moisture from the air. This dry air (<40%) can affect the skin, reducing the water content in the skin. To prevent this drying effect and maintain optimal humidity levels in the surrounding air during the winter season, you can install an air humidifier.
Similarly, outdoors, when temperatures drop, relative humidity decreases.
Similarly, there is no need to excessively heat rooms. A perfect ambient temperature of 64.4°F should be maintained. Also, avoid sitting too close to a heat source, such as fireplaces, stoves, and radiators. This could exacerbate redness.
Advice #5: Ventilate your interior.
While it may be tempting to keep windows closed during the winter months to retain heat, failing to properly ventilate rooms means that dust mites, whose excrement is a common trigger for people suffering from eczema, have ideal conditions to thrive. Inadequate ventilation can also lead to the growth of mold in kitchens and bathrooms, which, again, can trigger an eczema flare-up. A tip: remember to open your windows every day.
Advice #6: Cover up as much as possible when going outside.
Outdoors, it is crucial to shield the skin with warm clothing, gloves, and a scarf to prevent any direct exposure to cold and wind, particularly the hands and face which are the areas most frequently exposed to dry, cold air.
On the other hand, exposure to cold and dry air can indeed trigger an eczema flare-up, but dressing too warmly is not the solution either. Layering too many clothes can make you sweat. However, damp and sweaty clothes in contact with the skin can also dry out and irritate eczema.
Advice #7: Avoid irritating textile materials.
Wool, polyester, nylon... these rough materials can trigger eczema flare-ups and further irritate already raw skin. Instead, opt for soft fabrics and ensure that items directly in contact with your skin, such as underwear, nightwear, bed linens, tights, and socks, are as close to 100% cotton as possible.