10 Tips for Preventing a Winter Eczema Flare-Up

Winter Eczema Flare-Up

The extremes in weather during winter in New Jersey can affect anyone’s skin. But if you have eczema, you may struggle every winter due to flare-ups caused by the dry air and drastic changes in temperature.

At Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey, we feel your pain, and that’s why we want you to know what you can do to protect your skin and prevent your winter eczema flare-ups.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Preventing the dry air from zapping your skin of all its moisture is important during the winter months to prevent an eczema flare-up. We recommend you moisturize at least twice a day to help lock in your skin’s natural moisture. Apply a nonallergenic moisturizer to limit unnecessary irritation.

2. Use a humidifier

As we just mentioned, the dry winter air can suck the moisture right out of your skin, which can lead to dryness and itching. To fight back, we recommend you use a humidifier to add a little moisture to the air and help keep your skin hydrated. 

3. Switch to gentle soaps

Your skin is already at a disadvantage during the winter, so you want to limit any unnecessary irritation. Some soaps and detergents contain fragrances that your skin may not tolerate when it’s so sensitive. Use unscented soaps or detergents instead.

You also don’t want to overdo it with washing your hands or body. Soaps strip away your body’s natural oils, which can dry out your skin and make you more susceptible to an eczema flare-up. 

4. Get your vitamin D

While the evidence is mixed, there may be an association between low vitamin D levels and an increase in eczema flare-ups. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because your body is able to manufacture it when your skin is exposed to the sun.

Because you’re spending less time outside in the winter, you may not be getting enough of this vital nutrient. Up your intake by adding more food sources of this nutrient to your winter diet, such as eggs, fortified milk, and salmon. Or, talk to us about adding a vitamin D supplement.

5. Avoid temperature extremes

It’s not easy when you have to go to work every day to avoid the outside elements and the extremes in temperature. But do your best to stay in a temperature-controlled environment. When you do need to be outside, cover up with coats, hats, gloves, and scarves to protect your skin to prevent a flare-up.

6. Take shorter baths

You may be tempted to soak in the tub to help keep your skin moist during the dry winter months, but this may have the opposite effect. To retain as much of your natural oils as possible, we recommend that you limit your baths and showers to no more than 15 minutes. And when you’re done, be gentle with your towel and pat dry. Then, lock in the moisture with your nonallergenic skin lotion.

7. Stay hydrated

Because you’re not sweating as much, you may not think about the importance of drinking water in the winter, as you do in the summer. But the dry air can make you dehydrated, which can affect the moisture of your skin and lead to an eczema flare-up. So, like in the summer, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

8. Reduce your stress

You may notice that your skin tends to flare up right around the time you’re about to give a big presentation at work. While you can’t always avoid stress, try to find ways to better cope with it so it doesn’t affect your skin, such as exercise, meditation, or talk therapy.

9. Try a bleach bath

Diluted bleach kills the germs and bacteria on your skin and may help prevent an eczema flare-up. Fill your tub with warm water to the overspill drain and add half a cup of household bleach and soak for 10 minutes. Don’t submerge your head in the tub. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a bleach bath no more than twice a week to prevent eczema flare-ups.

10. Watch out for wool

Wool may keep you warm during the winter months, but it can irritate your skin. Instead, stick with sweaters, scarves, and hats made from cotton to reduce your risk of a flare-up.

Eczema is a chronic skin condition, but we can help you get through the winter with as few flare-ups as possible. If you’re struggling with dry, itchy skin, call Dermatology Associates of Central New Jersey today, or request an appointment online.

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