Keeping your skin happy in winter is challenging when you have eczema. Cold temperatures and dry air can irritate your sensitive skin and trigger a flare-up of eczema symptoms. But with some practical tips, you can calm your skin and prevent winter flare-ups.
The team at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut specializes in treating rheumatic and allergic conditions, including eczema. Winters in Manchester, Connecticut, are chilly, with January seeing the coldest temperatures, so our experts offer these tips to help you protect and soothe your skin this winter.
Having eczema means that the outermost layer of your skin — the epidermis — doesn’t function as well as it should. Impairment of the epidermis causes various symptoms.
To understand the symptoms you experience, it helps to know more about the function of the epidermis. Its primary job is to act as a barrier against environmental elements such as sunlight, cold and hot temperatures, chemicals, and pathogens such as bacteria and fungi. It also retains water and keeps the skin hydrated.
Because your epidermis doesn’t function well with eczema, your skin is sensitive, loses moisture, and is easily irritated. This causes your skin to dry out easily and develop itchy, dry patches that may crack and ooze.
Taking some extra steps during the winter to care for your skin can reduce flare-ups.
Keeping your skin moisturized is crucial during the winter months. Cold temperatures and dry air cause your skin to lose moisture. Our team can recommend a moisturizer designed specifically for sensitive skin.
Moisturizers recommended for eczema contain ingredients that soothe the skin, lock in moisture, and add to the lipid barrier. It’s best to moisturize your skin at least twice daily and check your skin throughout the day for signs of dryness.
From perfumes to personal care products with preservatives, many things can irritate your skin. Check the ingredients of any products that come in contact with your skin. Choose fragrance-free products with the fewest ingredients. This includes laundry detergent.
It’s important to protect your sensitive skin from frigid temperatures, but overheating can trigger just as many problems as cold weather exposure. The goal is to keep your skin comfortable by wearing enough layers to stay warm without causing excess heat. Your hands and face are especially vulnerable to eczema flares.
It’s difficult for your skin to retain moisture, and going from frigid outdoor temperatures to warm, dry indoor air can irritate your skin. Heaters that run during winter may keep your home warm, but they also dry out the air.
Adding moisture back into the air indoors helps soothe your skin. Using a humidifier to restore some moisture in your home or at your office can keep eczema flare-ups at bay.
Many people with eczema also have allergies. Spending more time indoors during the winter months can aggravate your allergies, and the heightened immune response can, in turn, contribute to eczema symptoms. Cutting down on allergens in your home by using a HEPA filter can help calm your immune system and manage eczema flares.
While there’s no cure for eczema, with some know-how you can manage symptoms year-round. We’re in your corner to help you keep your skin as healthy as possible. To learn more about managing eczema and to schedule a visit with one of our providers, call 860-288-1160, or send your appointment request online using our booking form.