While each person with eczema has their own triggers, in many cases flare-ups can follow a seasonal pattern. Cold, dry outdoor air and space heating can rob the skin of its natural moisture in the winter. It's not uncommon for your eczema to go dormant for most of the year, only to flare up again when it's cold in Winter.
Healthy skin acts like a barrier to protect you - just like a good coat of paint keeps your house from the summer heat and the winter snow. But when you have eczema, that barrier does not work as well. It allows moisture to escape, so your skin can dry out and become more irritated by cold weather.
WHY IS IT WORSE IN WINTER?
If your flare-ups happen predominantly in winter, this is likely due to switching between cold and hot environments. A combination of cold weather, warm indoors, hot baths and woolly clothing can aggravate eczema. In winter, eczema is mainly due to transepidermal water loss or dehydration of skin cells and a compromised skin barrier due to a lack of skin lipids. A number of treatments and home remedies can combat winter eczema flare-ups or prevent rashes and itching.
Note that if your eczema suddenly gets out of control, you may have developed an allergy to something you have come into contact with, such as fragrances, dyes or preservatives.
ADJUST YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE TO MANAGE THE ITCHING AND PAIN
Here are our tips on how to minimize the Winter influence on eczema.
Moisturize twice a day
When the skin barrier is compromised, a variety of cellular reactions can occur - such as red, dry, and blotchy skin. You need to moisturize twice a day with a thick cream. Opt for creams and serums instead of gels and lotions, as they contain more oil and are therefore more nourishing. Ointments generally stay on the skin longer than creams and gels.
Use more moisture-retaining ingredients
When buying facial moisturizers, look for hyaluronic acid, squalene, dimethicone, and ceramides, as these hydrating ingredients keep moisture in the skin.
A tip to combine both points for very dry and eczema-prone skin is to "double moisturize" -first apply a cream-based moisturizer, then "seal" the cream with an ointment-based product to prevent or minimize water loss from the skin.
Use a humidifier
Along with moisturizing the skin regularly, people can use a humidifier inside the house to add moisture to the air. This can help to stop the skin from cracking and becoming irritated. Drier air means drier skin. In winter, the air becomes much drier, both inside and outside the house. This can cause skin irritation, resulting in painful, cracked skin.
Wear soft, breathable clothing
Keep your skin cool by staying away from nylon, wool, coarse linen, or other fabrics that are stiff or itchy. Generally, cotton is best.
Extra Tip: Sleeping on cotton bedding can also make a difference. Keep in mind that polyester blends can be irritating to people with eczema.
Wearing layers can allow people to react easily to changing temperatures. It also means they can keep their skin at a consistently warm temperature and allow the skin to breathe when needed.
Gentle exfoliation with oily ingredients is best.
Avoid more aggressive facial scrubs as they can further irritate dry, cracked skin. You should also avoid harsh exfoliants or overuse of retinol treatments. Products formulated with natural oils such as argan or evening primrose oil are recommended as they contain fatty acids that moisturize the skin.