When it's more than dry skin: eczema

For many people, the winter season brings dry skin. But for others, winter weather can cause or worsen other skin problems, such as eczema.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that leads to skin redness, itching, oozing, crusting and scaling. The condition is not contagious. It is caused by a combination of factors, including genes, allergies and "triggers." A trigger is something that brings on an eczema "flare-up." Each person has their own set of triggers. These may include extreme humidity (high or low) or temperatures (hot or cold), harsh soaps and chemicals, stress, plants or pollen, animal dander, harsh chemicals or soaps, and tight or scratchy clothing. Many people find that winter weather triggers their eczema.

Tips for coping with eczema in the winter:

  • Moisturizing is always important for people with eczema, but in the winter, it's critical! If your skin gets dry in the winter, you may need to switch from a moisturizing lotion to a cream. Moisturize immediately after bathing to hold moisture in the skin. Put on moisturizer throughout the day as needed to soothe dry skin, and again before bedtime.
  • If cold weather and dry air trigger your eczema, get a climate meter (which tells you the temperature and humidity) for your home. If your home is dry, consider buying a humidifier. Or you can try boiling some water or placing a heat-proof bowl of water over the radiator to increase the moisture in the air. Cover up when you go outside to protect yourself from the cold air.
  • Eczema makes the skin very itchy. Scratching can cause an "itch-scratch" cycle – scratching damages the skin, which leads to more itching, which in turn leads to scratching. It can also increase the risk of skin infections. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medications that can provide relief for your itch and heal that rash.

If you think you may have eczema, talk to your doctor or dermatologist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Your-Winter-Skin-Survival-Guide