5 Tips to Help Prevent Fall Eczema Flare-Ups
If you are one of the over 30 million Americans who suffer from eczema, a change in the season and cooler weather can bring a whole new set of challenges. Cold, dry weather saps skin of essential moisture and can cause serious issues for skin that is already compromised. Itching and inflammation can lead to a breakdown in our body’s main line of defense, our protective skin barrier.
Here are a few tips to help protect your skin this Fall, so you can stay comfortable and itch free:
1) Don't indulge in long, hot showers or soak in the tub.
Limit showering/bathing to 5 to 10 minutes and use warm, not hot, water. Be sure to apply an oil or emollient moisturizer immediately after bathing to help seal in moisture. Also, use a gentle soap or cleanser that is less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
2) Manage you home environment.
While you don’t have control of the weather and temperatures outside, you can control the temperature in your home. Not overheating your home and the use of a humidifier can help keep reduce the chance of a flare up.
3) Don't wash your hands so often, especially in harsh winter weather.
Many people suffer from eczema on their hands and, for those that don’t, chapping and cracking of the hands is common in the harsh winter weather. Constantly washing your hands can also sap them of moisture.
Be sure to regularly apply a moisturizer to help keep hands hydrated. For severely dry hands, a thick cream or emollient applied before bedtime and then wearing gloves or socks on your hands, will help seal in moisture and repair the skin barrier. Also be sure to cover up with gloves when you are outdoors to protect your hands from cold air.
4) Moisturizing is your 1st defense in preventing eczema flare ups.
It’s essential to keep skin hydrated. Regular application of a moisturizer will help prevent dryness and cracking which lead to a breakdown in the skin barrier. Lotions and oils are ideal for all-over moisturization, but you may need something heavier, like a cream, emollient or ointment, in areas of severe dryness.
Being diligent with your moisturizing habits can help decrease the need for topical steroids and can increase the time between eczema flares. Just as with your cleanser, the fewer the ingredients the less the chance of irritation.
5) Know when to contact your dermatologist or physician.
Sometimes eczema flares up and causes intense inflammation, itching and irritation that over-the-counter products can’t remedy. It’s time to consult your dermatologist, allergy and asthma specialist or your family doctor. You may need a prescription medication to help treat and heal your eczema.
Hopefully, by incorporating these tips into your skin care regimen, you can keep your skin healthy and hydrated and ward off eczema flare ups.