Winter Eczema Relief
Last updated: January 2020
The harsh, ever-changing temps and dryness of winter can have some harsh, ever-changing effects for people with atopic dermatitis. But there are some ways to help soothe your skin and relieve your winter itch and irritation.
Beat the dry indoor heat
The sudden, extreme temperature changes can be harsh on atopic dermatitis. So avoiding these sudden temperature changes as much as possible would be of great benefit to reduce and prevent flare-ups. Also avoiding great amounts of heat, which we tend to experience more in the winter as we try to get warm inside, will help reduce flare-ups. This means:
- Not putting that car heat on full blast on frosty mornings
- Not making the shower too hot
- Minimizing hot baths
- Not overusing space heaters, radiators, or central heating
- Not having toasty nights directly by the fire
- Not roasting chestnuts by the fire while Jack Frost nips at your nose
That mirror steam you enjoy creating because having your water that hot is your sweet spot for warmth in winter is, unfortunately, a no-no for your atopic dermatitis.
What can you do?
Bathe in warm water, take a quick 19-minute bath and put on moisturizer within 2-3 minutes of your bath. Also, be mindful of the temperature in each room. Keep your house at a decent temperature that will make you feel comfortable but not toasty and try to keep each room at the same temperature if possible. This may be especially difficult if you have an upstairs and downstairs that do not separate temperature controls, like me. Because at times the temperature you set downstairs may not be the same due to the rise of heat and outdoor temperature. Beloved winter heating blankets are also an atopic dermatitis no-no.
Dress for the cold weather
Wearing warm clothing is our general go-to move for winter weather. But scarves and sweaters and other thick warm materials can cause irritation and flare-ups. Wool and leather can be particularly detrimental to atopic dermatitis flare-ups. So rather than wearing hot thick clothing, wear thinner, atopic-dermatitis friendly clothing like layers of cotton. Also try gloves that won’t scratch, irritate or dry skin.
During winter months, if your atopic dermatitis worsens and your flare-ups increase, you may have to double and triple up on moisturizer. You will especially want to double and triple up on places most exposed to the harsh temperatures such as your face and your hands. Also, consider your lips! Don’t lick! Moisturize! Use lubricants for your lips such as Vaseline or Vaseline based lip balm or ointment. This will moisten your lips and also hopefully encourage you to stop licking your lips as licking them can further serve to dry them out.
Humidifight the heat
Dry air may also be harmful. Humidifiers may be worth a try as a potentially helpful option. They work for some people with atopic dermatitis. Putting hot bowls of water may be another option for humidifying.
Pick and chose and do what works for you!
What type of infection do you deal with most often?