Top 3 Eczema Summer Tips
“Summer, summer, summertime! Just sit back and unwind.” - Will Smith
Oh, the soothing air of the hot summer breezes basking in the sun, letting time pass by. It’s a beautiful thought, isn’t it? I won’t say that we eczema warriors do not enjoy the summertime, but let’s face it, if you are prone to flares in the summer, it is the opposite of soothing. So instead of unwinding, we just sit back and try not to overheat or burn our skin off from the summer sun!
Thankfully, there are some hacks to attempt to make summer as calming as possible. Summer doesn’t have to be joyless; it just has to be enjoyed differently. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon plight for the chronically ill.
Exposure to the sun
Let’s just start with the elephant in the room: The SUN.
15 minutes or less in the sun. Sun exposure is tricky but necessary to talk about. Phototherapy or light therapy is a common practice for skin conditions because it is a controlled way to use UV rays to help the skin. However, the sun is so powerful that it can cause burns and more pain than good if not properly respected. I have never had phototherapy treatment but have found a formula that worked for my skin at its worst times with daily sun exposure.
How can the sun help?
The daily sun is useful for many ailments, the trick for atopic dermatitis is the amount of time you spend in it. During flares, I do not allow direct sunlight to touch my skin for more than 15 minutes, but I have found it to be a quick healing aid for my eczema at times. Also, I’ve used the sun to dry out my skin further so that a layer of accumulated skin can peel more easily. Whatever the sun is used for, just know complete fear of it during flares is not always the answer. Instead, listen to how your body feels, exposing it a little at a time.
Washing your face or body
Face wash. This is possibly an unlikely tip, but having a good face and body wash that cleanses without fully stripping your natural skin oils (sebum) with harsh ingredients is important. Cleansing immediately after a long day outdoors or sweat has been key for my skin health as long I properly moisturize afterward. Showering is often sufficient, but showering and then taking a bath afterward has been my greatest calming skin sensation.
Using natural oils
Light natural oils. In contrast to the thick creams for winter moisture, the summer often yields to thinner moisturizers that your skin will adjust to with time. I use jojoba oil year-round, and argan oil is my next choice. If you can use coconut or any other oil, go for it. Sunflower oil is also an oil I’ve heard great things about for eczema from accredited dermatologists. Like I stated in tip #1 with sun exposure, allowing your skin to dry out to the extent that it is comfortable and letting your body naturally develop its own oils to moisture or leave you comfortable enough to allow your skin to “breathe.” Summertime is a perfect time to allow this, although it may take an effort not to be self-conscious of the dryness.
Building a summer routine
These three tips are as simple as it gets. Consistent limited sunbathing, the proper wash routine, and bathing system, along with light oil-based moisture, have allowed my skin to thrive over time while my body does the healing work. I understand that choosing to use such limited products or routine is not the reality for most with eczema, but my experience at my worst and now at my best with my skin has thrived with this routine through summertime breezes. Share your summertime tips in the comments!
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?