Winter is in full swing and that means a few seasonal joys, like a steaming cup of cider after some serious snow play. As much as we make the most of our winter season, there are a few downsides. For many people, it dry, irritated skin. At this time of year, skin conditions like eczema can act up largely because of dehydration within the epidermis. Here, we discuss some of the ways you might pamper your skin to reduce eczema flare-ups this winter.
- Moisturize twice a day. Many people with dry, irritated skin feel somewhat apprehensive about applying too much moisturizer. In the case of eczema, though, the skin is in need of some serious hydration. In the wintertime, the best skin solution comes in the form of an emollient cream or oil. Emollient creams are equal parts oil and water, whereas gels contain water and alcohol and lotions are mostly water. Irritated skin may have a compromised barrier. Applying emollient cream twice a day adds moisture and locks it in. If your skin is already dry and itchy, it can take up to four weeks of consistent use to see optimal improvement.
- Dermatologists and patients who have seasonal or chronic eczema agree that oils can be the skin’s best friend. Many oils, such as coconut oil and argan oil, contain fatty acids that hydrate the skin and nourish its protective barrier. Oils are great for layering beneath other moisturizers and can also be used as a facial cleanser to remove makeup and debris without drying out the skin.
- Steer clear of irritants. One of the fastest ways into an eczema flare up may be through an environmental or chemical irritant. The hand sanitizing gels that have become so popular in recent years may be a prime example. The alcohol content in sanitizing gels, foam hand-soap, and even wipes can impair the skin’s barrier for days, depending on the frequency of use. It is important to avoid flu-causing germs, but this can be done by washing your hands several times a day with a soap formulated for sensitive skin.
Wintertime eczema can quickly become unmanageable. If your skin is red and cracked, you may need medical treatment to bring eczema under control. We can help. Call Westerville Dermatology at 614-895-0400.