Eczema: Seven ways to avoid flare-ups as the weather changes

With winter around the corner the need for a person to change their skincare routine is vital, especially for those suffering with eczema. It’s estimated there are around 15 million people in the UK alone who suffer with the skin condition. What are seven top tips to help avoid eczema flare-ups during the cold season?

During the autumn and winter months, the air becomes colder and much drier than usual, with wind and low humidity extracting moisture from the air, even when the weather is wet.

As a result, eczema sufferers may find skin flares up more frequently or may find that symptoms get worse, leading to dry, chapped skin that flakes, cracks or even bleeds.

Seven ways to help during the cold season:

Do not crank up the central heating

It can be tempting to turn the thermostat all the way up but in fact, central heating reduces humidity and can dry out the skin.

To help prevent drink skin from losing more moisture, keep your home at a comfortable temperature of around 20C and turn radiators low at night to prevent overheating.

Focus on fibres for your winter wardrobe

For eczema sufferers the lure of a cuddly jumper or cosy knitwear can spell danger, with man-made fibres like nylon and polyester and some forms of wool being known irritants.

Try opting for cotton instead which allows the skin to breath better, or look for a superfine Merino wool which helps stabilise the humidity levels and temperature of the micro-climate between the fabric and the skin.

Layer up

Prevent overheating and sweating by wearing layers of breathable cotton clothing, rather than just one heavy jumper.

This way, it is much easier to adjust the body temperature to the environment around. In particular, hands are much more susceptible to flare ups which makes extra protection in winter more vital.

However, as gloves are often made from irritating fabrics, consider wearing cotton or silk gloves underneath the outdoor gloves to avoid irritation.

Moisture, moisture, moisture

Moisturising is vital to managing eczema. To keep skin hydrated, use an emollient such as Diomed dry skin regularly.

By regularly moisturising, the condition of the skin will improve and will therefore reduce itching and irritations.

Use a moisturiser immediately after a bath or shower to help trap the moisture in the skin. Rather pat the skin dry before applying than rubbing as this causes more irritation.

Keep skin dry

Damp clothes will wreak havoc with eczema prone skin. When the skies open or if there has been large amounts of snow, immediately take off wet clothing.

Soothe the skin by taking a short bath or shower in lukewarm water and moisturise again before changing into something dry.

Ditch refined sugars

As the season changes, so one tends to switch up their diet from light summer dishes to warm, heartier meals including stews and casseroles.

It’s important to remember that certain foods could be irritants including dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy products, and wheat.

To ensure there are less flare ups, follow a healthy, balanced diet and try and avoid drinking too much alcohol as this can dehydrate the skin.

In addition, diets that are high in sugar and refined carbs can elevate insulin levels which promotes inflammation.

Stay hydrated from the inside out

While it’s easy to keep up our water intake during the hot summer months, this can be more challenging in the winter months.

To keep skin hydrated from the inside out, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

Luckily, teas, coffee, soups, hot water and lemon and even hot chocolate add to one’s water intake.

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