Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a skin condition in which the body is not able to maintain or keep the moisture of the skin and the individual is allergic to certain environmental things like pollen, chemicals, dust, metal, etc.
Dryness of skin triggers itching that further irritates the skin causing scaling and roughness. Sometimes the itching is so severe that it hampers sleep and continuous scratching may cause bleeding as well.
WHY DOES ECZEMA GET WORSE IN WINTERS?
It is seen that eczema flare-ups are more in winters due to dry air. The hot water baths and indoor heating systems make the skin drier and the skin is not able to keep the moisture on its own. Winter clothing also aggravates it further as woolen clothing creates more itching and wearing clothes in layers creates more heat in the body.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO MANAGE ECZEMA IN WINTERS
AVOID HOT BATHS: Bathing with hot water makes the skin drier by extracting more moisture from the skin. The more time you spend in hot water or soak yourself the more you damage the skin. Take a bath with warm water only and limit the time you spend taking a bath.
DON’T RUB THE SKIN AFTER BATHING: Always pat dry the skin with a soft towel and never rub your skin as friction will induce more dryness and itching.
LOCK THE MOISTURE SOON AFTER BATHING: Soon after bathing apply a thick layer of moisturizer when the skin is still a bit wet. Once the skin dries out after bathing the moisturizer will not be able to help the same way.
NEVER USE HARSH SOAPS AND SHIFT TO GENTLE SOAPS: Harsh soaps also make the skin dry and irritate it. Always use soaps that are mild and have moisturizers in their content. Avoid soaps with fragrance, dye, and alcohol.
USE PETROLEUM JELLY: It is a thick moisturizer and can help by insulating the skin from the environment. A thick moisturizer will also help in locking the moisture in the skin.
DON’T USE PERFUMES DIRECTLY ON THE SKIN: Perfumes also take out moisture and make skin drier. Never spray them on the skin directly.
WEAR NATURAL FIBRE CLOTHING: Clothes made of cotton or silk are more suitable for people who have eczema. They are breathable and don’t irritate the skin thus preventing itching. Wool and nylon can cause irritation on the skin and overheat as well. Also, keep the skin covered while moving out of the house as less exposure will prevent moisture loss.
KEEP YOURSELF HYDRATED: Drink ample amounts of water as enough hydration will keep the skin hydrated. People tend to drink less water in winters due to low temperatures that further aggravate skin dryness. Drink 8-9 glasses of water every day.
AVOID REFINED SUGAR: Refined sugar will aggravate the itching so you should avoid consuming it.
USE HUMIDIFIERS IN THE ROOM: Humidifiers will help in maintaining the moisture level in the room especially when an artificial heating system is used. It will help to maintain the moisture of the skin as well.
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