Do you suffer from eczema? If your skin tends to get red, inflamed, dry, and itchy, you very well might have eczema. While it’s generally diagnosed during childhood, many people don’t experience it for the first time until they’re adults. Eczema is more likely to cause trouble in winter when the air is drier and moving in and out of buildings drastically changes the temperature. How can you know if you have it? More importantly, how can you minimize or avoid flare-ups?
- First, let’s talk about the symptoms of eczema. Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become dry, sensitive, itchy and inflamed, with a rash that often turns into blisters. This rash is typically seen in the creases of the arms and the backs of the knees. If you have eczema, you may experience severe itching, especially at night, thick, cracked skin, dry, scaly, red or brownish-gray patches, raw and sensitive skin, or small raised bumps with fluid that scab over if scratched.
- What causes eczema? Eczema is probably genetic and seems to have a connection to allergic conditions like asthma and hay fever. Even though it’s not caused by external factors, there are triggers that can cause flare-ups. These include food intolerance, irritants in body care products, allergens like dust mites, mold, or pets, nutritional deficiencies, digestive issues, infections, and even stress. During the winter, the drier weather combined with indoor heating can impede the skin’s ability to remain moist, and that can lead to eczema flare-ups. Overheating caused by too many layers of clothing, too many bed coverings, or taking hot baths is also likely to trigger your eczema.
- How can you prevent eczema?
- Try to avoid drastic changes in temperature. Maintaining an even skin temperature as much as possible can prevent flare-ups, so keep the rooms in your house at a comfortable but not too warm temperature. Use layers on your bed rather than one thick blanket, duvet, or comforter, and avoid hot baths. Instead, if you’re feeling itchy, opt for a warm bath with moisturizing products. Those with oatmeal are particularly recommended.
- Be wary of fragrance and dye. Avoid these things in your personal care products, and try to keep them out of your laundry as well.
- Stay hydrated. It’s always important to drink plenty of water, but for eczema sufferers in winter, it’s even more vital. Drinking at least eight cups each day will hydrate your body and help to moisturize your skin.
- Focus on moisture. Some people find a humidifier to be helpful, and for people with eczema, moisturizer is a must. Use thick moisturizers during the winter, like petroleum jelly, and be sure to apply them more than once a day.
- Be careful of what you wear. Layer your clothing, instead of wearing heavy garments. Wool, nylon, and some other fabrics can be irritants, so try to choose clothing made of cotton and other breathable materials.
- How is eczema treated? There are different treatment options, depending on the type and severity of eczema. Some people find vitamin D to be helpful, and eczema is often treated with topical medications, wet compresses, and soaks. Talk to your dermatologist, to determine the best treatment for you.
At Skin Cancer Specialists, P.C, we offer innovative and effective methods of skin management, and we can help you find the right treatment for your eczema. Originally conceived as a practice devoted to treating people with skin cancer, we have grown to become a premier dermatology practice with an aesthetic center that is staffed by licensed cosmetologists and aestheticians. Continually adapting our practice to reflect new and improved technique and procedures, we adhere to the highest standards in the industry. Call 770.422.5557 or contact us through our website to learn about our personalized care and what we can do for you.