Winter is a challenging season when it comes to caring for your skin, and even more so if you have eczema. The chances of having a flare-up are more likely during the winter because of the cold temperatures and dry air.
With eczema, the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), which acts as a barrier, isn’t working as it should. The epidermis not only plays a role in controlling body temperature, but also shields against irritants and allergens, among other things.
Dermatologist Yvonne Hines, MD, at Hines Dermatology Associates specializes in diagnosing and treating a full spectrum of skin conditions, including eczema. Having eczema means you must take special care of your sensitive skin.
Things like a major change in temperatures can trigger flare-ups. When the winter season arrives, you can take steps to keep your skin as healthy as possible and reduce and control flares.
Winter and your skin
Eczema causes your skin to develop dry, itchy, patches that may crack and ooze. While there isn’t a cure, working closely with your health care provider to learn how to care for your skin is the best way to manage eczema.
Because your skin barrier doesn’t work as well as it should, it’s sensitive to the cold temperatures that are common during winter months.
Additionally, your skin has a harder time retaining moisture, and winter weather makes it even more difficult. As temperatures dip, try these tips to keep your skin happy in the winter season.
Put moisture back into the air
As you venture inside and cozy up, keep in mind that heaters dry out the air inside your home. Because your skin has trouble locking in moisture, dry air inside your home can be a real trigger for your eczema.
Adding some moisture back into the air is a simple yet effective way to address this and keep your skin from getting irritated. Using a humidifier is an excellent way to combat dry air inside during the winter. Even a small humidifier can make a big difference.
Keep your skin moisturized
A regular moisturizing routine with a gentle moisturizer that is safe for your skin is a must. Since your skin dries out easily, you have to take special care to help it stay moisturized, especially during the winter.
Dr. Hines can recommend a moisturizer designed specifically for helping your skin lock in moisture. She may recommend an oil-based moisturizer during the winter months to fend off moisture loss due to cold, dry air.
Continue wearing sunscreen
It’s a common misconception that you can ditch the sunscreen during the winter. While there is less sunshine during the winter months, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are still present. Even on cloudy days, it’s important to wear
sunscreen because the sun’s UV rays are invisible and penetrate through the clouds.
Before going outside, make sure to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher to any sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as your face and hands. You should wear sunscreen year-round. Exposure to the sun’s powerful UV rays can trigger a flare-up.
With eczema your skin is less able to help regulate body temperature and is sensitive to major temperature changes, as well as cold and hot weather. Dress in layers when you go out to keep your skin from getting too cold.
At the same time, avoid putting on so many layers that you end up overheating. Heat and sweat can trigger flares just as readily as frigid temperatures.
Don’t forget to wear well-fitting gloves to protect your hands. Areas of the body exposed to the elements, such as the hands, are particularly vulnerable to flares.
For more information on how our expert team of dermatology specialists can help you best manage your eczema, contact our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hines.
New and existing patients can also send a message to Dr. Hines and the team here on our website.