Eczema: The Winter Nightmare

If you have atopic dermatitis (eczema), you know that extreme weather changes are not your friend when it comes to keeping the skin condition under control. For many, colder temperatures have already descended even though winter has not officially begun. By taking a few precautions and knowing what makes your eczema worse, there is no reason you can’t enjoy winter.

Why is Eczema Worse in the Winter?

Eczema occurs because there is damage to the skin’s barrier. It causes the surface to be sensitive to irritants, allergens, and bacteria. The skin also struggles to retain water, which makes it naturally drier. Eczema can also cause itchy skin that is notably worse at night. Moisturizing regularly helps keep eczema under control. In winter, low humidity, winds, and colder temperatures reduce the amount of moisture in your skin.

Other Factors that Make Eczema Worse

Anything that will dry out your skin can make your eczema worse. In the colder months, hot temps from heaters and fireplaces can aggravate your condition. Even having it too warm in your house can cause a flareup. Hot baths, too many layers of clothes and bedding layers are also triggers. All of these things either contribute to drying out your skin or not letting your skin breath, which can make eczema worse.

Getting Through Winter with Eczema

When you have eczema, creating a routine with regular skincare will help reduce flareups and make winter more manageable. Below are some tips:

  • No Hot Baths– Take a warm bath or shower instead. Add moisturizing products to the bath. Children with eczema should limit baths to 5-10 minutes. Pat yourself dry versus rub.
  • Gentle Soap– Use moisturizing soaps and bath products that are fragrance, dye, and alcohol-free.
  • Step Up Your Moisturizer Game– For the winter, use a thicker moisturizer. Apply immediately after bathing or showering and throughout the day as needed.
  • Get a Humidifier– A humidifier adds moisturizer back into the air. Make sure to maintain the humidifier to avoid bacteria and fungi growth. Cleaning it every three days is recommended.
  • Drink Plenty of Water– Drinking plenty of water will keep your body hydrated. If your body is hydrated, your skin will be hydrated too.
  • Vitamin D Supplements– Safe doses of the sun have been known to improve eczema symptoms. In the winter, when the sunlight is lower, taking a vitamin D supplement can help improve symptoms.

Treating eczema is not a one-size-fits-all approach. If you have not responded well to current treatment options, clinical trials may be an option. Currently, our site is enrolling participants in clinical trials investigating potential new treatment options for those diagnosed with eczema. To learn more, click here.