Dry air can exacerbate eczema symptoms, especially on the hands and face which are so often exposed to the elements. Skin expert Paula Oliver has six ways you can help ease dry and itchy skin.
Avoid rapid temperature changes
Dermatology nurse consultant Paula Oliver stressed how drastic temperature changes can trigger a flare-up for eczema sufferers.
Entering a warm home, for example, after taking a long walk in the cold air outside may lead to irritation and “broken skin”.
Of course, many people – especially those without access to a personal vehicle – have no choice but to venture out into the cold.
And lots of individuals enjoy stretching their legs and going for a stroll in the open air.
To ease any dry and itchy skin, Paula recommends “covering sensitive areas of skin when going outside and wrapping up warm”.
“It is also a good idea to avoid hot water when you’re cold as the extreme change could make skin feel uncomfortable,” she adds.
“Layering up in the winter months is a good option for those with eczema,” suggests Paula, “as it allows people to respond to changing temperatures.”
It’s not only homebirds who enjoy snuggling up indoors during the colder months.
Yet, “central heating strips moisture from the air,” Paula warns, so she advises placing a bowl of water near any radiators in your home.
The use of a humidifier would work just as well, and to combat any drying effect, people are better off not sitting too close to any radiators.
“Instead, make sure the whole room is warm and layer up with blankets if required,” clarified Paula.
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A clean home
“Dust and dust mites can be a big trigger to those with eczema,” warns Paula.
Thus, a clean home is paramount if you want to reduce the chances of an eczema flare-up.
To ensure dust mites don’t build up in your home, vacuum, dust and open the windows often.
“It’s important to regularly open windows to prevent rooms in the house from becoming a breeding ground for dust mites,” adds Paula.
Described as “an essential part of any skincare regime”, a “heavier emollient”, such as Epimax, might be worthwhile during the colder months.
Epimax (£3.99 for 100g) is an over-the-counter emollient that doesn’t require a prescription.
The vegan-friendly range is free from paragons, perfumes and lanolin, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
“It is also useful to carry a cream with you when you leave the house, so you can top up as required,” adds Paula.
“When you’re covering sensitive areas to leave the house, such as putting on scarves, hats and gloves, be mindful about what they’re made of,” says Paula.
“Harsh materials, like wool, can irritate the skin so try to stick to soft fabrics.”
Examples of soft fabrics include bamboo, cotton and silk, as they allow the skin “to breathe”.
“Making sure they are smooth and seam-free can also help to reduce skin irritation.”