Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a condition of the skin that causes a dry, itchy and scaly rash. Physical symptoms include scaly patches, thick and cracked skin, and small raised bumps that could have fluid or scab over if scratched.
People who suffer from eczema dread the winter months because of the lower humidity and drier conditions in the surrounding environment. The chances of eczema flare-ups in the winter become exponentially higher because of the skin’s exposure to indoor heating systems, and thick/layered clothing.
Here are five things you can do to alleviate your eczema symptoms this winter:
- Avoid contact with certain fibers – Some materials used for clothing, like wool, can irritate your skin and cause eczema flare-ups. These fibers also tend to be thick, like nylon, causing you to overheat and exacerbating the condition even further. Choose clothes with a lot more breathable materials like cotton.
- Eliminate Layers of Fabric – This applies mostly to your bedding because in the winter, we tend to have layers of blankets and comforters to help us sleep better in the cold. But like the issue with clothes, you don’t want to overheat while sleeping and cause further irritation to your skin. The same tip applies as well with using breathable linen over thicker fabrics.
- Try out Vitamin D Supplements – while this is still an emerging option to help alleviate the symptoms, there have been a few studies by universities in the US and in South Korea that back its effectiveness. Calcitrol, the active form of Vitamin D, helps protect your skin as well as repair the damaged cells from the inflammation brought by eczema.
- Use Thicker Moisturizers – Almost everyone gets drier skin in the winter months, but eczema sufferers really want to avoid that first and foremost. The lighter lotions you use in the warmer months might not be enough, so opt for thicker and creamier ones, or even petroleum jelly. If you’re having a flare-up, see if you can apply moisturizers that contain hydrocortisone to help ease the itching.
- Avoid Using Hot Water For Your Skin – On the topic of avoiding dry skin, you should avoid taking showers with hot water altogether in the winter, and limit the amount of times you shower per day to just one. Don’t rub your skin with a towel, instead just pat it lightly, especially on the areas affected by eczema. Moisturize as soon as you finish showering to lock in the moisture.