Winter is our skin’s not-so-favorite season. The harsh, dry, and cold weather can strip our skin of natural oils, dry it out, and make it feel tight, itchy, and irritated. During winter, eczema flare-ups are very common. But how do you know if you’re dealing with dry skin or eczema, and what can you do to nourish your skin in any season? Let’s take a look at how to prevent eczema flare-ups in winter.
Dry Skin vs. Eczema
First, take stock of your symptoms so you can better understand which skin ailment you want to focus your prevention attention on. Dry skin symptoms include itching, cracks that may cause bleeding, skin that feels like sandpaper or unnaturally tight, or even red skin. When your skin cannot maintain adequate moisture reserve, your skin dries out and causes these symptoms.
Now eczema can mimic dry skin symptoms. Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, happens when your skin’s defense barriers are not working as well as they should. Symptoms include itchy, flaky, and red, irritated patches of skin. Commonly affected areas include creases of your elbows or the back of your knee. Eczema can flare during cold weather, times of extreme stress, and when subjected to allergens.
You may have eczema if you have pre-existing conditions such as allergies and asthma, a genetic predisposition to eczema, localized itching that does improve with moisturizers (but over time, dry skin would), or if your skin has bumping blisters that may ooze fluid and form a crust.
Preventing Cold Weather Eczema
If you want to prevent cold weather eczema, take the following tips to heart:
Increase Humidity in Your Home – When you go to bed at night, fire up your humidifier to keep moisture in the air as you sleep. In the winter, you are probably cranking up your heating system to stay warm as the weather rages outside. This will quickly dry your skin and cause your skin’s defense barriers to be compromised. Adding moisture to the air will help prevent your skin from drying out. Just be sure you keep your humidifier clean, so you do not introduce pathogens into the air.
Take Warm Showers – It is tempting to take steaming hot showers in the winter, especially after spending time outdoors. However, this is counterintuitive if you are trying to prevent dry skin and itchy skin symptoms. The steam from the shower will not be enough to hydrate your skin. Instead, take a short bath or shower with warm water. Then as you dry your skin, gently pat it dry instead of rubbing your skin dry.
Layer Up – Before heading out into the harsh winter air, be sure to cover up any exposed skin to prevent it from coming in contact with the elements. In addition to adequate coverage, you will want to dress in light layers. If you become too hot, you can remove a layer without exposing your skin to the cold.
Moisturize in the Morning and at Night – Even though daily moisturizer is paramount for dry skin treatment, it is also necessary for preventing cold-weather eczema. This is because moisturizers can make your skin less likely to react to irritants which can cause eczema. You will want a thick creamy moisturizer for the best outcome. Water-based moisturizers won’t do the job during winter.
Moisturize Correctly – In case you forgot, moisturizer should be the last part of your skincare routine (before sunscreen). All you need to do is put a few dabs of moisturizer on your fingertips and apply it to your cheeks, then your forehead, brows, and temples. Finally, apply to your jawline from your chin to the base of your ears. As for whole-body moisturizer, begin with your arms and legs, paying close attention to creases in the skin where your elbows and knees bend.
Remove Wet Clothing Right Away – If you engage in a vigorous workout, you’re bound to sweat. This is true if you go out into the wet snow or sweat under your winter layers. Remove wet clothing as soon as possible to prevent irritating your skin. This prevents unnecessary friction and irritation.
Go Fragrance-Free – Skin products that smell good may be a delight, but the chemicals used to create those scents can irritate your skin. Avoid products that say “soap.” As weird as that may sound, you want fragrance-free products that are cleansers. Keep this in mind when you wash your clothes too. You’ll want to use fragrance-free and dye-free laundry detergents, so your clean linens do not irritate your skin.
Treating Cold Weather Eczema
Currently, there is no permanent cure for eczema. There are only some treatment options to help reduce or eliminate symptoms if you are experiencing cold weather eczema.
Probiotics May Help – Sometimes eczema occurs when your gut bacteria is off balance. Taking probiotics (often found in live cultures in yogurts) can help balance the gut bacteria. Our microbiome is essential for maintaining proper skin health.
Boost Collagen with Microneedling – Support your skin health by boosting collagen production. This essential protein is what makes your skin appear firm and youthful. However, supporting your skin with additional collagen production can aid your skin in numerous ways. One treatment option to boost collagen production is microneedling. This treatment introduces micro-injuries into the skin, signaling the skin to repair itself. It increases collagen and elastin production to promote a thicker and even skin tone, helping your body generate healthier-looking skin. Most clients see results up to six months after a treatment series concludes.
Try Natural Oils – Natural oils are a tried and true method used to boost skin health. If you experience eczema, there is a chance you’re lacking some good fatty acids in your life. You want to choose cold-pressed, aka “virgin” oils such as virgin olive oil. The extraction process doesn’t involve extra chemicals, making it a good choice for skincare. This is also true for virgin coconut oils and Jojoba oil.
Amplify Hyaluronic Acid – Whether you increase your skin’s hyaluronic acid supply with dermal fillers or you take a more topical approach, hyaluronic acid can increase your skin’s inner hydration. This moisture magnet can help minimize dry skin and itchy symptoms.
Consider What is Next
If you are experiencing cold weather eczema, don’t wait for the weather to warm up to find relief. Book a consultation at First Impressions Rejuvenation Clinic to determine the best treatment option that fits your skincare needs. The professional staff at First Impressions recognizes all clients have unique skin composition, goals, and needs. The team is always ready to answer any questions you may have. Get started treating your cold-weather eczema today and get the relief you deserve.
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