Weathering Through Eczema Flare-Ups During Winter Months
Eczema sufferers can find flare-ups of rough & reddened patches embarrassing while equally uncomfortable due to the intensely itchy skin. The weakened protective barrier, we know as skin, can be life-altering to some people as it may be:
- Sensitive to Irritants: Soaps, Detergents, Shampoos, and Disinfectants
- Irritated by Allergens: Dust Mites, Pets, Pollen, Mold, and Dandruff
- Prone to Bacterial Infections: Staph Infections, Viruses, and certain Fungi
- Dry & Damaged from Scratching: Rashes, Scars, and Changes in Pigment
These factors, or irritants are things most of us handle daily. So other than avoiding close encounters with them, what are your options, especially during the winter months when eczema flare-ups occur more frequently or get worse? Eczema – also clinically referred to as dermatitis - flares up because the skin can’t stay moist on its own while combatting harsh whipping wind and indoor heating systems that dry out your skin.
How to Avoid Flare-Ups:
- Skip hot baths or showers. As heat can cause your skin to dry out, avoid taking very hot baths in winter. Instead, bath or shower for a shorter period of time (5-10 minutes) and use lukewarm water. Consider adding some moisturizing products to the water and patting your skin dry vs. rubbing your skin, which can be irritating.
- Use a gentle soap. Use moisturizing soaps or gentle cleansers that are free of fragrance, dye, and alcohol. (Take this into consideration when purchasing laundry detergents as well.) Only apply soap to parts of your body that produce sweat.
- Try a thick moisturizer. Eczema sufferers require a lot of moisturizing to their skin. Use thick moisturizers and apply them within 30 seconds after bathing or showering, while your skin is still damp. Make sure to moisturize your skin daily. For mild flare-ups, you may also use a cream containing hydrocortisone.
- Avoid contact with certain materials. Fibers, such as wool, nylon, and others, can irritate skin and cause eczema. They also may cause overheating, which also leads to flare-ups. Dress in breathable clothing, like cotton, and avoid wearing too many layers.
- Try a humidifier. Humidifiers combat the dry heat and add moisture back into the air.
- Drink plenty of water. Keeping your body hydrated can keep your skin hydrated. Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day will help moisturize your skin.
Products We Recommend
Avène is a medical-grade skincare product held in our office. The Avene brand is known for its use of thermal spring water and is approved for its effectiveness in nourishing and calming dry, itchy skin prone to eczema. Two highly recommended products for reducing eczema flare-ups, and available in our office, include:
Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream directly targets the cause and source of itching, redness, and irritation associated with skin prone to atopic dermatitis (eczema). The velvety, non-greasy formula provides long-lasting hydration to very dry skin by sealing in moisture and helping to restore the skin barrier. 100% sterile skin care line is suitable for infants, children, and adults. Fragrance-free. Alcohol-free.
Avène Thermal Water Spray is bottled directly at the source and packaged in a sterile environment for guaranteed purity. Its composition is clinically shown to soothe, soften, and calm sensitive skin.
A Rx May be in Your Future
For more severe flare-ups, eczema is something to be treated by your local dermatologist and may require medication, such as Dupixent. Desjarlais Dermatology will evaluate for proper topical prescription therapy. for treatment-resistant eczema, Dupixent is utilized. Dupixent is a biologic that helps keep you one step ahead of moderate-to-severe eczema and targets inflammation deep beneath the skin to help prevent flare-ups on the surface.
While there is no known cure for eczema there are medications that can be prescribed, skin care products to reduce symptoms, and actions you can take to avoid flare-ups. The winter months can be very difficult for those living with eczema but with supervision from a dermatologist and a change in your daily routine to avoid common triggers, you can be one of the many people enjoying those winter festivities, with less worry about your skin.