If you have eczema, winter can feel like a battle. The cold air and dry weather can be hard on your skin, causing flare-up after flare-up. But if you know how to manage it, you might be able to make it through the season without this frustrating condition wreaking havoc on your life.
Take note of these potentially problematic items and products—eliminating them might just take your eczema flare-ups down a notch or twenty!
Products that contain perfumes and fragrances can irritate and dry your skin, leading to flare-ups. If you have eczema, it's important to be aware of the ingredients in lotions, soaps, body washes, and skin care products and skip the ones that are heavily fragranced.
That includes products that contain essential oils. While these are natural, they can still irritate your sensitive skin.
Retinoids are typically found in anti-aging and acne products like skin creams, serums, and face washes. The vitamin A-derived compound is good for the skin in most cases, but it can be irritating for people with eczema.
The National Eczema Association recommends that people with the condition avoid retinoids or use them sparingly.
Lye is often touted as a cure for eczema-laden skin, but, in fact, it has the potential to irritate it instead. As an alternative to lye-based soaps, folks with eczema can look for natural cleansers containing olive or vegetable oil, honey, oatmeal, or Castile, provided they don't have fragrances or other harsh ingredients.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), including glycolic acid and lactic acid, contain alcohol and act as astringents. When applied to the skin, they're drying and often irritating, especially for people with eczema.
Typically, these ingredients are recommended for frequent acne outbreaks or oily skin. Instead of products with AHAs, people with eczema should look for ingredients such as vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, which bring moisture to the surface of the skin.
Eczema is commonly irritated by laundry detergent due to the harsh chemical ingredients and fragrances in so many of these products. People who have eczema should look for detergents, and fabric softeners, too, that are hypoallergenic and free of colors and scents.
When purchasing new clothing or other items like bedding and towels, wash them before use to avoid the skin coming into contact with any undesirable chemicals and irritants from the production or final cleaning processes.
Dust and pet dander are common environmental allergens known to irritate asthma and other respiratory conditions, but many people don't realize that these airborne bits can also encourage eczema flare-ups.
To avoid skin reactions to dust and pet dander, it's important to frequently dust and vacuum the home, as well as have the air ducts cleaned regularly.
Hot water has its benefits, but for those with eczema, using lukewarm water to bathe and wash your hands is the better choice. Hot water can strip natural oils and moisture, components that are vital to maintaining eczema-free skin.
It can also be helpful to add bath oil, baking soda, or oatmeal to a lukewarm bath to soothe eczema flare-ups.
Some people find exposing their skin to the sun for short periods alleviates their eczema symptoms, but others find that spending too much time under UV rays causes their skin to feel worse.
Regardless of whether UV light helps or hinders your skin, it's important for anyone spending time in the sun to use proper protection to avoid damage. Wear proper protective clothing, move into the shade after 10 or 15 minutes, and use sunscreen with a high SPF.
Tight clothing can rub against the skin and cause irritation, especially for people with eczema. Certain fabrics also tend to be more irritating, such as synthetic materials that don't allow the skin to breathe.
Generally, the best clothing for eczema is made of breathable fabrics such as bamboo and cotton.
Certain foods may trigger flare-ups for people with moderate to severe eczema. While the foods that cause irritation vary, some of the more likely culprits are common allergens like peanuts, milk, soy, gluten, and eggs.
For people who develop food-related flare-ups, it's important to avoid these foods as much as possible.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.