Winter can be difficult time for our skin, especially those with skin conditions such as eczema. Looking after your skin and using the correct skin care products is important during the winter months. Areas such as the hands and face are largely exposed to the harsh cold air, resulting in a downward slope of continual eczema degradation.
Eczema treatment in the autumn/winter period is important for maintaining skin health and preventing symptoms from worsening. Symptoms such as severe itching and dry scaling patches can further deteriorate and affect someone’s day to day quality of life if the correct eczema treatment isn’t used.
One of the many effective eczema treatments the majority of people can do is simply changing to a different emollient/eczema cream. Switching to an ointment can help combat the drying effects due to harsher winter weather. This is because an ointment helps hold water in the skin, stopping it from escaping. Opposite that, a humectant eczema cream can help hydrate dry patches of skin by drawing moisture in like a magnet.
The Majority of eczema cause cannot be avoided and will most likely come down to luck. People can be born with an increased likelihood in developing eczema due to familial genes. Research has shown that children who have a parent with eczema, are more likely to develop it themselves.
When do flare-ups happen?
Some people will only have eczema flare-ups due to specific eczema causes and triggers. They can vary from person to person. Some of these common triggers include:
- Irritants – such as soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath.
- Environmental factors and allergens – such as pet fur, pollen, cold and dry weather.
- Ingredients and food – such as cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, soya and wheat.
- Materials worn close to the skin – such as wool and synthetic fabrics.
- Skin infections
- Hormonal changes during a woman’s period o pregnancy.
To help transition into the autumn/winter periods, there is a list of things you can do to make dealing with cold weather eczema symptoms easier.
Keep a consistent room temperature
Keep all the room sin the house at a consistent temperature and wear thing layers. This will allow you to slowly build up or remove clothes as you get warmer or colder.
If your house uses central heating as its heating solution, there is a downside everyone with eczema should be aware of. Once central heating is doing its thing…heating…it will strip the air of moisture. To circumvent this, placing a bowel of water next to a radiator should offset this and minimise the impact it has on the skin.
Use topical eczema creams and steroids
Make sure you are well stocked up on topical steroids and creams. Emollients and eczema cream will need to be applied more frequently during colder and drier periods.
Regular attention needs to be paid to specific areas, especially if you have eczema on hands and anywhere on the face.
Wear protective clothing
Any clothing that is meant to keep you warm and snug, such as hats, scarves and gloves should be mad out of soft fabrics. If they aren’t, close contact with the skin will cause further irritation to skin that is already irritated.
Effect of eczema on different areas of the body
Hand eczema cold weather
Eczema on cold hands can further irritate the dry and itchy skin. All types of eczema can cause itching and redness, but some look and act differently. The symptoms of eczema on hands share a lot in common with other parts of the body, with some being unique to hands.
- Redness, itching and pain
- Dryness, peeling and flaking
- Cracks and blisters
There is another specific type of eczema on hands that is called pompholyx or dyshidrotic eczema, causing small, itching blisters to appear across the palms and fingers of the hands. The cause of this type of eczema isn’t known, but it’s more common in people who already have existing eczema such as cold weather eczema on face.
Some basic things you can do to help keep eczema on hands symptoms under control:
- Wash your hands in lukewarm water and don’t use any fragranced soap.
- Once your hands have been washed, gently tap them dry and apply moisturizer.
- Avoid hand cleaners that contain ingredients like alcohol and solvents. These can be very harsh on the skin, especially during a hand eczema co9ld weather flare-up.
- When going out in cold weather make sure you are using 100% cotton gloves. When it comes time to wash them, use a fragrance-free, dye-free detergent.
Cold weather eczema on face
Further precautions can be taken to help eczema on the face during cold weather seasons. Follow some of the below tips to help reduce how frequent flare-ups occur during the winter.
Skip hot baths
As heat causes the skin to dry out, avoiding hot baths and showers should be a priority. To keep the skin moist try adding moisturizing products to the water. Try looking for products specifically made for bathing and showering.
Once you have finished taking a shower or bath and it’s time to dry yourself, don’t rub the skin with a towel. Instead, gently pat until dry. Rubbing the skin with a towel will scratch the eczema, opening wounds or causing it to itch more.
Staying hydrated is important for the health of your skin, with or without cold weather eczema on face. You should aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Those 8 glasses don’t particularly need to be plain water. Cups of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and other hot winter beverages will suffice.
A recent study has shown that taking Vitamin D supplement during winter cna help reduce flare-ups and symptoms of cold air eczema.
As a relatively inexpensive treatment option, the UK government recommends taking 10 micrograms of Vitamin D a day regardless of any current illness in the moths between October and early March. This helps keep bones and muscles healthy.
Cold weather eczema symptoms to watch out for
Cold weather eczema symptoms are generally the same as regular eczema during any other period of time, but due to the weather, they are worsened.
Cold air eczema can occur on the –
- Insides of the elbows
- Bscks of the knees
Severity of eczema varies widely from person to person. Some people only have a small area of dry skin that will occasionally itch. In more severe cases, cold weather eczema symptoms can be exacerbated and can cause widespread inflamed skin all over the body.
Any areas of skin affected by cold weather eczema symptoms may also temporarily turn darker or lighter after the skin has healed and improved. This more noticeable in people with darker skin. This isn’t a result of the skin scarring, but more of a footprint of old inflammation. This skin will eventually return back to its original colour.
This is why it’s important to take the necessary precautions before the eczema flare up cold weather can occur.
If you have any further questions such as “Can eczema flare up with cold weather?” your doctor and pharmacist will be able to help. They may be able to recommend better eczema creams and cold air eczema treatments.