Winter Eczema Flare Ups – Causes & Treatments

December 21, 2017
Winter Eczema Flare Ups – Causes & Treatments

Winter Eczema

Winter is a difficult time for our skin, and many people get eczema flare-ups during winter because of the Temperature changes from warm, dry inside air to cold outside air can dry skin out more than normal.

The month of December calls for a holiday season in most parts of the world. Winter season is a great time for adventure-seeking travellers to check out various spots. It’s a time for snow sports, snowmen, getting cozy in turtleneck sweaters and lot more. With a great amount of entertainment there comes a hindrance as well that is caused by the weather conditions outside and may prove harmful for the individuals suffering from winter eczema. It’s commonly seen that eczema flare ups in winter making it worse to handle at your own.

Why Does Eczema Get Worse in the WinterCan eczema flare up in winter?. Can eczema be caused by cold weather?. 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 and also these are the few questions which you might have in your mind:

  • How to Treat Winter Flare-Ups?
  • How to Treat Eczema and ‘Winter Itch?
  • How to Manage Your Child’s Eczema in Winter?

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
  • Cold weather skin rash

Winter Eczema Causes

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 in  winter. 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.

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How to Prevent Baby Eczema in Winter

How to Prevent Baby Eczema 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.

Are you feeling itchy this winter season? Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, irritated and itchiness. The chilly, dry winters can be responsible for aggravating eczema prone skin. The eczema flare-ups can be common in winters and symptoms like crusty, dry, red patches are usually seen on the skin. Going from a warm to cold may “shock” your sensitive skin, making adjustments to temperature more difficult, and thus worsening eczema.

In Cold weather, layering upon skin can bring on more discomfort due to overheating, clothes touching the skin too closely, however not layering may also dry up the skin. It’s important to keep your child warm during this chilling season without getting eczema flare-ups. The winters can be intense even on the healthiest skin so when you are already suffering from eczema the season can be brutal as well. However, if you follow the wintertime eczema tips discussed below, you can soothe and calm your skin.

 14 Useful Tips For Preventing Eczema Flare up in Winter

We have gathered some data and tips in this blog post that may help in managing your eczema flare up in winter.

 How to Treat Winter Flare-Ups

1. Avoid using Soap:

Using soap in the morning shower can be extremely uncomfortable as it may dry your skin and can extract natural oils from the skin easily. A quick soap substitute can be much helpful to lock in moisture inside your skin. Look for soaps or body wash that are gentle to your skin.

Instead you can use various bath solutions for eczema such as :

2. Check the temperature in the shower:

It can be too tempting to take a shower with a hot water when the outside temperature is cold enough to let your body freeze but your skin certainly won’t thank you for it. Try to take a shower with a warm water instead of hot baths and you will feel the benefits in no time. Look for various products that can be added to the bath and pat dry your skin with a towel to avoid skin irritation.

3. Avoid wearing certain fabrics:

Fabrics like nylon, synthetics, wool and wearing too many layers of clothes may irritate your skin and worsen the skin condition as they cause overheating. Cotton clothing for eczema is smooth and lets the skin breathe so it keeps cool and fabrics, breathable and loose-fitted clothes to calm your skin condition that lets you avoid itching all the day. Avoid unnecessary layers on your bed too.

4. Increase the water Intake:

Keep your body hydrated all day long. This can help moisturize your skin. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. You can also slice up lemons or another citrus to add a mild flavor to the water.

5. Vitamin D Supplements Intake:

Vitamin D supplements may improve eczema flare-ups. These supplements are inexpensive and are easy to find in the grocery store. As per the study conducted the Mongolian children treated daily with the vitamin D supplements saw a reduction in winter eczema. You can also use ultraviolet light to stimulate Vitamin D production.

6. Get your bathroom routine right:

 Avoiding eczema flares in winter

Apply moisturizer before and after you shower. Locking moisture into your skin is most important when you are suffering from eczema. Applying a thin layer of moisturizers and dermatologist prescribed emollients will help to protect your skin from the water and applying it again after you take a shower can help lock in moisture into the skin.

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7. Watch eating habits:

If you regularly experience eczema flare-ups you will know well what all to be eaten. Try maintaining a food diary to track what is causing the flare-ups. Avoid dairy products, soy, wheat and more that can cause eczema flare-ups.

(Also Read: Eczema Diet Plan)

8. Carry your creams:

Carry your creams with you everywhere you go so as to avoid any break in the skincare routine. Take care of yourself as soon as you leave the home. It’s important to keep a mini cream in your handbags that can help avoid the eczema flare-ups.

9. Wrap up your body:

Wrap up the exposed body parts like hands, feet, neck, face, ears etc when you are outside in the cold weather. Wear gloves, scarf and apply emollients to these areas to avoid the flare-ups.

10. Avoid extreme temperatures:

Exposing yourselves to the extreme temperatures can cause worsen the skin condition. Extreme temperature changes can harm your skin and leave you more prone to flare-ups. Try not to keep your house as toasty as an oven and as chilled a freezer. Maintain a proper temperature in your house to avoid the irritated skin condition.

11. Avoid Stress:

Stress can induce eczema flare-ups. Try to avoid stressful environment and keep yourselves calm and stress-free.

12. Using a Humidifier to Manage Eczema:

humidifier is an essential tool to help you manage winter eczema. Central heating systems often blast hot dry air all around the homes and offices. Humidifier adds moisture back to the air that helps prevent your skin from drying out. Be sure to maintain the humidifier so as to avoid fungi and bacteria growth.

13. Apply Sunscreen On Winter Eczema Skin:

Sunscreen just isn’t meant for summers. Winter sun can damage your skin. Try applying sunscreen lotion to your hands and face about 20 minutes before going outside. Reapply sunscreen frequently if you are staying outside for a long time.

14. Avoid wet socks and gloves:

Wet gloves and socks can irritate your skin and cause cracking, itching and eczema flare-ups.

However, there is no cure for eczema, but it can surely be managed well. The patients can make it comfortably all through the winter season with a proper skin care management. If you feel any winter eczema symptoms, it may be a time to seek a medical help and get a professional medical opinion.

Ways to Prevent Eczema Flare up in Cold Weather


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 weather 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 winter 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.
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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

Ways to avoid an eczema flare-up during winter

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.

Clothing (Eczema Flare up Prevent)

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 or (cold weather) 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 winter eczema skincare routine to avoid eczema triggers.

If that doesn’t work, ensure to visit your dermatologist to seek a proper medical advice.


Also Read:

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