Winter is easily the most extreme of the seasons, especially when it comes to your skin. If you have a pre-existing condition, like extreme dryness or eczema, winter can be downright brutal. For those of you who know the struggle, here's exactly how to deal with eczema in the winter.
If you're reading this you probably know you have eczema. But for the rest of us, here's a definition: It's a skin disease characterized by extremely dry, itchy and flaky skin. It can even cause redness and inflammation, and it's all around a bad time.
Eczema and skin dryness is exacerbated by the low humidity we experience in winter. The air outside is cold and dry, while inside buildings and homes, it's hot and dry (due to indoor heating). The result? Our skin is desperate for moisture.
"Our skin is sensitive to changes in temperature, moving from warm air to cool air to warm air," added Jason Reichenberg, MD, a dermatologist and vice chairman of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern-Austin, according to Everyday Health. So protecting and replenishing your skin in winter is super important. Left untreated, skin suffering from eczema can crack and bleed, making healing even more difficult.
Below are some tips and tricks for keeping your eczema in check this winter.
1. Wear Gloves
Wear gloves any time your outdoors this winter to protect your hands from becoming a blistered mess. Skip scratchy wool gloves and opt for a leather pair. Wearing them will keep your hands protected from wind and sunshine, both contributing factors to dryness.
A humidifier will change your life, and your skin. Humidifiers release moisture back into the air, which is perfect when you have the heater cranked up.
3. Take Short Showers
It's true: Water is naturally drying to the skin, and extremely hot showers is even worse. To combat eczema, take showers instead of baths and keep your showers short
This seems obvious, but often we only moisturize once or twice a day. Up the ante by keeping your favorite lotion at your desk, in your car, and pretty much everywhere else. Definitely apply moisturizer after washing your hands (see number three).
5. Apply Sunscreen
Water, wind, and temperatures are damaging to the skin, but so is sun exposure. Your hands get the most exposure, especially if you're commuting to work and they sun is sifting through the windshield. Protect them with a moisturizing sunscreen.
6. Stay Chill
Stress can take your eczema from bad to blistered and bleeding. The stress hormone released when you're feeling overwhelmed — cortisol — is responsible for inflammation, so stay calm and keep moisturizing. Eating well, sleeping well, and maintaining balance will keep your eczema from getting worse.
Images via Pexels