Tips for Managing Eczema This Season
Sometimes, colder weather can trigger skin irritation in eczema patients. Here, we offer several tips to keep flare-ups to the bare minimum as we continue through our colder season of the year. To minimize eczema outbreaks and soothe irritated skin during the winter, try one or more of the following:
1. Avoid rapid temperature changes
During the wintertime, especially, we may jump back and forth from very warm to very cold temperatures too quickly. This shift in extremes can cause the skin to become dry and itchy. The key is to change environments slowly without allowing the skin to get too cold. Really, it's just the susceptible skin that needs protection. If you get eczema on your hands, wear gloves. If on your trunk, wrap in a warm jacket when going outdoors. When showering, either warm the room beforehand or get into warm water rather than piping hot.
Maintaining a healthy moisture level is necessary for anyone with eczema. When the weather is colder and we're relying more on indoor heating elements, it can be helpful to use an emollient cream or shea butter on the skin. And don't just apply once. If and when the skin is extra irritated, it may be necessary to apply cream or butter a few times a day to prevent dryness and cracking. Another way to support adequate moisture is to add a humidifier to rooms you frequent. Doing so places moisture in the air to complement the moisturizer you have applied to your skin.
3. Get vitamin D
Don't giggle too hard, here. We know that sunlight can be hard to come by in our area. However, you can still make sure that you get your vitamin D. In addition to heading outdoors for a few minutes whenever the sun has broken through the clouds, you can take a quality vitamin D3 supplement. Recently, it has become more common for people to have their vitamin D levels checked by their doctor. Doing so can create a guide for optimal supplement dosing.
4. Use mild skincare products
Dry, cold temperatures make the skin more temperamental. Your skincare products can and should offset this. If you don't already use fragrance-free, dye-free soaps, lotions, makeup, and laundry products, now is a great time to make the switch. If you're washing your hands more or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, carry a small tube or bottle of quality hand cream with you and apply it after every wash.
5. See your dermatologist
Eczema responds well to light. And since sunshine is often obscured in our area, professional light therapy treatments may be the most accessible and effective at quickly improving dermatologic health. Phototherapy is a proven clinical treatment that can be combined with topical eczema medication if needed, or performed as the sole treatment.
We can help you manage your eczema. Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit in Seattle or Renton.