Eczema is a very common skin condition and there are many factors that can cause this condition. Cold weather is one of these factors. Stating that eczema flare-ups are more common in winter months because the air is drier than normal, Istanbul Allergy Founder, Allergy and Asthma Association President Prof. Dr. Ahmet Akçay gave important information about ways to prevent eczema. What is Eczema? What Are the Symptoms of Eczema? Why does eczema get worse in winter? What Can I Do to Prevent Eczema?
What is Eczema?
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes a dry, scaly, and itchy rash on the upper part of the skin. Eczema can be so itchy that someone with the condition may have trouble sleeping. It is usually diagnosed in children, but may occur for the first time in adults as well. Eczema can be seen in many parts of the body; hands, feet, scalp, face…
What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?
If you have eczema, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Severe itching, especially at night
- dry skin
- Dry, scaly rashes on the skin that are red to brownish gray
- While eczema is seen on the face, neck and behind the ears, on the outer parts of the arms and legs in infants, it occurs especially in the joints in older children. In adults, it becomes evident on the hands.
- Sometimes there are rashes that leak fluid
- Thick, cracked, dry and scaly skin
- Sensitive skin.
Why does eczema get worse in winter?
You may find that eczema flare-ups occur more often or get worse in the winter. Dry air combined with indoor heating systems can dry out your skin. Eczema flares up because the skin cannot stay moist on its own. Flare-ups can also be caused by wearing too many clothes, taking hot baths, or using too many bedspreads. These are all things you are more likely to do during the cold winter months. For these reasons, eczema flare-ups increase in winter.
Fungi on the skin can trigger eczema
Especially in elderly patients with eczema, the microbe called Malassezia, which is found in the normal flora of the skin, can become an allergen. Sweat plays an important role in becoming an allergen. Fungal microbes that have become allergens can exacerbate eczema. For this reason, in addition to the effect of cold weather, the contribution of the skin fungus to become an allergen should be investigated, especially in eczema that does not improve. For this, allergy specialists can investigate whether the fungal microbe of the skin is an allergen with molecular allergy testing.
Disinfectants Can Also Cause Hand Eczema
One of the common triggers of eczema are chemicals. Frequent use of hand disinfectants due to the pandemic may cause exacerbations of eczema, especially on the hands. Even in people without eczema, disinfectants can cause dryness and irritation, while in people with eczema they can cause flare-ups. In eczema, it is necessary to maintain the moisture of the skin. Alcoholic disinfectants have the property of drying the skin. For this reason, it will be useful to moisturize the skin after using disinfectant.
What Can I Do to Prevent Eczema?
There are some precautions you can take to prevent eczema. These measures can help relieve your symptoms.
Avoid sudden temperature changes
Eczema flare-ups are common during the summer and winter months. When the skin experiences major changes in temperature, it begins to feel dry and itchy. The transition from the cold air outside to the warm, dry air inside can cause the skin to dry and crack. Wear gloves, scarves, and hats when outside to prevent your skin from getting cold.
Moisturizing is an important part of skin care for eczema, and this is especially important during the winter months. Always carry a moisturizer with you and apply generously several times a day to protect your skin from the cold, dry winter air.
Use mild skin care products
The skin is more sensitive in the changing temperatures of winter. Therefore, make sure that the skin care products you use do not cause irritation on your sensitive skin. Soaps and detergents may contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. Switch to natural or unscented skin care products to reduce irritation.
Choose cotton clothes
Some fibers, such as wool, nylon, and others, can irritate the skin and cause eczema. They can also cause overheating, leading to flare-ups. Avoid these products as much as possible. Wear breathable materials like cotton and avoid wearing too many layers.
Do not take hot baths
You should avoid taking very hot baths in winter as the heat can dry out your skin. Use lukewarm water instead and make sure your shower products are also free of harsh chemicals. Do not dry your skin harshly with a towel after bathing and showering. Apply moisturizer before your skin is completely dry.
Drink plenty of water
Keeping your body hydrated can help keep your skin hydrated. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This will help moisturize your skin.