Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become red, dry, irritated, and inflamed in the affected area, and can occur either occasionally or chronically. Cold air, wind, and a decrease in humidity during winter combine to make symptom flare-ups more frequent in some people with eczema. Here are some steps to help you navigate the winter season without suffering the discomfort of eczema, or to help you reduce your eczema flare-up that appears in cold weather.
How to combat the cold with skin prone to eczema?
- Advice No. 1: Hydrate the skin immediately after showering
- Advice No. 2: Avoid scented lotions and laundry detergents
- Advice No. 3: Avoid long hot baths
- Advice No. 4: Maintain rooms at a consistent temperature and with a correct humidity level
- Advice No.5: Ventilate your interior
- Advice No. 6: Cover up as much as possible when going out
- Advice No. 7: Avoid irritating textile materials
Advice No. 1: Hydrate the skin immediately after showering.
In winter, the skin requires additional attention in terms of hydration, especially for those prone toeczema. During the winter months, it is recommended to apply a thick moisturising cream immediately after showering in order to retain moisture when your skin is still damp. Furthermore, pay special attention to sensitive skin areas that are vulnerable to exposure, such as the hands and face, when you go outside.
During this time of the year, switch to a different emollient to help combat the drying effects of weather conditions such as an ointment, which is very effective at retaining water in the skin, or a moisturising cream that draws water into the epidermis from the dermis.
During the winter months, it may be necessary to moisturise your skin at regular intervals, more than once a day.
Advice No. 2: Avoid scented lotions and laundry detergents.
Some cosmetic ingredients can be triggers that exacerbate eczema. Stick to products that are fragrance-free, essential oil-free, alcohol-free and hypoallergenic.
Advice No. 3: Avoid long hot baths.
After the cold winter days, there is sometimes nothing better than relaxing in a hot bath. However, hot water tends to dry out the skin and cause inflammation by removing the protective hydrolipidic film on the skin's surface. It is rather preferable toopt for lukewarm showers for short periods (5 to 10 minutes).
Advice No. 4: Maintain rooms at a consistent temperature and with a correct humidity level.
Although indoor heating systems help to keep us warm, they also remove moisture from the air. This dry air (<40%) can affect the skin, reducing the water content within it. To prevent this drying effect and maintain optimal humidity levels in the surrounding air during the winter season, you can install an air humidifier.
Similarly, outdoors, when temperatures drop, relative humidity decreases.
Similarly, there is no need to excessively heat rooms. A perfect ambient temperature of 18°C should be maintained. Also, avoid sitting too close to a heat source, such as fireplaces, stoves, and radiators. This could exacerbate redness.
Advice No.5: Ventilate your interior.
While it may be tempting to keep windows closed during the winter months to retain heat, failing to properly ventilate rooms means that dust mites, whose excrement is a common trigger for people suffering from eczema, have ideal conditions to thrive. Inadequate ventilation can also lead to the growth of mould in kitchens and bathrooms, which, again, can trigger an eczema flare-up. A tip: remember to open your windows every day.
Advice No. 6: Cover up as much as possible when going out.
Outdoors, it is crucial to shield the skin with warm clothing, gloves, and a scarf to prevent any direct exposure to the cold and wind, particularly the hands and face which are the areas most frequently exposed to the dry, cold air.
However, exposure to cold and dry air can indeed trigger an eczema flare-up, but dressing too warmly is not the solution either. Layering multiple pieces of clothing can make you sweat. Yet, damp and sweaty clothes in contact with the skin can also dry out and irritate eczema.
Advice No. 7: Avoid irritating textile materials.
Wool, polyester, nylon... these rough materials can trigger eczema flare-ups and further irritate already raw skin. Instead, opt for soft fabrics and ensure that items which are in direct contact with your skin, such as underwear, nightwear, bed linens, tights and socks, are as close to 100% cotton as possible.