Winter skin care tips

Dry, cold air not the only common trigger

We know the winter months can be especially challenging for eczema sufferers. Dry, sensitive skin, coupled with an impaired skin barrier and an overactive immune response is the perfect storm for eczema flares.

Flares are typically marked by periods of inflammation and rashes on the skin that are often accompanied by intense, insatiable itchiness. While flares can sometimes feel unbearable, luckily, there are things you can do to keep them at bay:

  • Bulk up your moisturizer: As the weather gets cold and dry, it may be time to swap lotions for creams, or even turn to a rich ointment. Be sure to patch test any new products to make sure they don’t cause irritation, and take a close look at the ingredient list as things like fragrance and essential oils may irritate sensitive skin.
  • Pay attention to temperature: While seasonal allergies may be under better control in the winter, triggers such as forced air heating in homes, or cold air outside, can easily flare eczema. Prepare yourself by understanding your triggers and dressing appropriately for indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Stay cozy but aware: Cold weather means staying indoors, and being in close quarters with others. Keep this in mind as flare-ups can be prompted by environmental elements such as certain soaps, deodorants, carpet fibers, and dust.
  • Skip the sweater: You may want to avoid that bulky wool pullover, as certain clothing fibers can also irritate skin and trigger a flare.
  • Keep it simple and know when to ask for help: If you’re struggling, be sure to consult your doctor to develop a treatment plan that works in partnership with a easy-to-follow skincare routine.
  • Beat the winter blues: Eczema can take a toll on mental health, and long, dark winter days can compound feelings of depression and anxiety. If you’re having a hard time coping with the burden of eczema, reach out to ESC for support (our support volunteers are here to listen) or consult a mental health professional – there is no shame in asking for help.

Keep your eczema at bay this winter with good skin care. This season, get back to basics with moisturizing at least twice a day. Check our ESC’s list of Seal of Acceptance products for some suitable choices.