The month of December calls for a holiday season in most parts of the world. Winter season is a great time for adventure-seeking travelers to check out various spots. It’s a time for snow sports, snowmen, getting cozy in turtleneck sweaters and much more.
However, this phase may turn out to be difficult for those with eczema. If you are already managing the dry, patchy, irritated and itchy skin, the cold weather would mean more care and precautions to prevent eczema flare-ups.
Eczema is a common skin condition that is more often diagnosed in children and might continue in adulthood. The skin ailment causes the following symptoms in the affected individuals:
- thick, cracked, dry, irritated and scaly skin
- severe itching
- dry, scaly patches
- small, raised fluid-filled bumps that could leak
- sensitive skin
Why Eczema gets Aggravated during Winters?
The low humidity during the winters causes the already cracked, dry skin to become more irritated, thus, resulting in the worsening of eczema. The winter months can be troublesome for your condition and make it hard to manage the symptoms, specifically because of two reasons:
- Dry air: The dry and cold air during the winters makes it more difficult for the dehydrated skin to lock in moisture on its own and stay on a uniform keel.
- Harsh temperatures: The skin becomes more dry when you expose it to dry heat in the car, at home, and at the office, after experiencing icy wind blasts. The sudden switch in temperatures can make your skin more prone to eczema flareups.
In addition to these primary reasons, certain other factors also tend to make eczema worse during winters. These secondary factors may include:
- The choice of clothing – a heavy layer of warm clothing, synthetics, rayons can cause sweating resulting in flare-ups
- Frequent hot baths
- Making use of a single heavy and warm bed covering
- Common eczema triggers such as irritants, stress, allergens, dust, pet dander
Such factors and activities are likely to add to the risk of eczema rashes. You may be able to avoid the worsening of the condition if you consider the alterations in the winter environment that worsen your eczema and bring about the necessary changes in your treatment.
How to Avoid Eczema Flare-ups in Winters?
The foremost step that you must undertake is to identify the factors that trigger your eczema. The next step aims at avoiding those triggers and keeping the skin hydrated.
Read More : 14 Useful Tips to Prevent Eczema in Winters
Here Are Ways to Manage Eczema During Winters:
It is likely that sudden changes in the temperature contributes to itchiness in the skin. Sometimes, even people, who don’t have eczema, complain of itchy skin when they undress at the end of the day or while getting out of their beds in the morning.
This feeling of scratching is often related to the temperature changes. If, you are affected with eczema and go out on an icy, cold winter day from a warm environment or vice versa, your skin is being exposed to temperature variations that make it feel itchy.
You may follow the suggested precautions to avoid worsening of eczema symptoms due to temperature changes:
- You must avoid abrupt temperature changes and focus on maintaining a uniform skin temperature. Your car, home and if possible office temperatures must be kept constant and not excessively warm.
- Prefer using layers of bed coverings instead of a single, thick one. You can always remove a layer as and when you feel sweaty.
- You must avoid hot baths and sitting right near to ﬁres and radiators as the heat can trigger scratching. Only use warm water to take bath or shower.
Low humidity and dry air during the winters adversely drops the skin moisture levels and worsens the eczema symptoms. Even wet weather during the winters is recorded to have low humidity. The air humidity is directly proportional to the temperature, hence a drop in the temperature means low humidity.
Heating up the environment in the cars, homes and offices, while it is cold outside, makes the air more drier. Air-conditioned offices are likely to leave the skin dry.
In such situations, you can make use of humidifiers to place moisture back into the air. Although, the equipment may not be specifically beneficial for people with eczema, it prevents skin from drying and becoming itchy, cracked.
A bowl of water may also be used as a cost-effective, portable alternative to increase humidity. You can place these bowls in each room, however, remember to clean and refill them on a regular basis to avoid the breeding of bacteria.
Skin Care & Moisturization
Your skin must be well moisturized in every season but winters calls for more moisturization. As the dry air tends to make the skin deprived of the hydration, apply moisturizers more frequently. Ensure to moisturize your skin well before going out in the cold.
During these months switch from your water-based moisturizers and lotions to the oil-based ones, prefer ointments over a cream.
It is likely that your face and hands may need extra care as they are exposed to more cold and dry conditions in comparison to other parts. Ensure to keep your lips protected and moisturized using emollient ointment or petroleum jelly to avoid them from drying.
The winter sun can also be bad for your sensitive, eczema-prone skin. Hence, ensure to wear a sunscreen on at least the exposed parts of the body 20 minutes before moving out in the sun.
Avoid using harsh soaps, detergents, dyes and perfumes, instead prefer the ones that are specifically manufactured for the sensitive skin.
Choosing the right fabrics during winters is a must to avoid the symptoms of eczema from aggravating. Here are a few tips that can be helpful while buying the correct stuff:
- Hats, scarves and gloves are essential during the cold weather. However, you must avoid those made from wool as they can result in scratching and itching. You must look for the stuff made from fabrics that don’t irritate your skin. E.g. you can wear cotton or similar fabric gloves under the woolen or leather gloves.
- Those with eczema on their legs can wear cotton bottoms beneath their woolen covering.
- To protect yourself from the cold, you can also try to wear several layers of cotton clothes instead of a single heavy, warm attire.
Wet gloves, shoes, socks, hats, and outerwear must be quickly changed to avoid the damp clothing from coming in contact with eczema skin for long.
Winters might not be troublesome for all, it can be a relief for all those who have suffered during the summers. For those finding it difficult to manage the condition during the winters, put in some extra care and bring about a few changes in your daily skincare routine to avoid eczema triggers.
If that doesn’t work, ensure to visit your dermatologist to seek a proper medical advice.