Eczema, otherwise known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that affects men and women alike. It’s a frequently seen condition in children that also extends to adults. While it’s not uncommon, it tends to be universally uncomfortable and can come with associated symptoms that range from dry, itchy, and scaly skin to the development of raised patches that are sensitive and raw.

While eczema is a year-round condition, it’s one that has a way of escalating in the winter, particularly for those that suffer from the condition and live within cold and snowy climates. Dry air combined with drastic temperature changes makes it difficult for the skin to maintain high moisture levels that are needed to combat eczema breakouts. Fortunately, having some strategies in place to combat these potential flare-ups is a good way to stay more comfortable and look and feel your best all winter long.

Potential Causes of Eczema Breakouts

While the potential causes behind the development of eczema are vast and varied, there are some factors that are known to significantly contribute to flare-ups. Eczema is thought to be a primarily hereditary condition, but some individuals suffering from its effects have also pointed to underlying infections, stress, allergen exposure, and skin irritants as potential causes for the condition. Whether you’ve identified the cause of your eczema, or believe breakouts may be resulting from multiple sources, taking the following steps this winter is a good way to keep those flare-ups under control.

Switch Out Your Soaps

In the coldest months of the year, it can be tempting to linger in a warm bath sprinkled with sweet-smelling soaps that clean and soothe. Unfortunately, many of the soaps that grab our attention on the shelves are also the harshest on our skin. If you’re suffering from eczema, swapping out those summer soaps for more sensitive skin versions is a good idea. They’re not only gentler on your skin, but will provide for more moisture intake, allowing you to combat eczema breakouts before they ever happen.

Stick to Cotton Materials

Eczema is a skin condition that doesn’t take much provocation to show up. For many individuals suffering from the flaky and dry skin associated with eczema, certain fabrics and materials are the culprits behind breakouts. Clothing made from nylon, wool, or spandex tends to be particularly harsh on the skin, especially in the winter when skin is already drier. These synthetic materials also tend to hold in more heat which can dry out skin even faster and cause flare-ups. Instead, plan on sticking to a cotton-based wardrobe in the winter months and while it may be tempting—avoid layering so your skin can breathe and retain as much moisture as possible.

Increase Your Water Consumption

Your body isn’t a collection of unassociated parts. Issues in one area of the body always directly affect another and as the largest organ you call your own, skin definitely tops the list of features worth caring for! While water is good for your entire body year-round, in the winter, it’s incredibly important to increase your water consumption, especially if you suffer from eczema. Drinking more water allows your skin to remain more moisturized and is a good way to ward off winter infections that can cause flare-ups as well.

Incorporate a Humidifier or Two into Your Living Space

When the temperatures plummet, home heaters kick into high gear. Unfortunately, added heat in your home also means moisture levels drop. When you can’t go without the added heat but your skin is suffering from eczema breakouts, consider placing a humidifier or two around the house. Creating your own moisture will generally help you avoid flare-ups during the cold months and can also help those who simultaneously suffer from allergies to enjoy easier breathing through this time of the year.

Make the Most of Moisturizers

In the summer, added heat and moisture in the air means that those with eczema can generally stick with lighter moisturizers. The story is revered in the winter when those looking to avoid breakouts will want to be sure to swap out their lighter moisturizers for thicker versions. Your skin will require added protection this time of year and a thicker moisturizer is a good way to give it what it needs, especially if you’ll be spending time outdoors. Medicated creams and moisturizers are often a first line of defense against eczema flare-ups in the winter when symptoms extend to a painful point.

Taking Care of Your Skin All Year Long

If you suffer from eczema or are looking for comprehensive skincare and services, the team at The Skin & Vein Center is here to help. Our expert staff is passionate about what we do and the clients we serve. We offer a wide variety of services that help you look and feel your best. Contact us today to learn more!

Dr. Eric Seiger is a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon who has been offering innovative, expert medical solutions since graduating from New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine in 1986. Throughout his career as a leader in the field of cosmetic surgery and enhancements, Dr. Seiger has been frequently published in medical journals for his development of new techniques for the safe removal and treatment of veins.