It’s officially fall season, a time of gorgeous foliage, warm cardigans, pumpkin spice everything, and eczema flare ups. Now that the air is dryer this time of year, your skin might become a bit itchier than usual. What a bummer, right?
Eczema is a dermatological condition both children and adults live with. In fact, about half of the children – 1 in 10 – diagnosed with eczema will have it into adulthood and many are likely to be prone to hay fever and asthma. When it comes to eczema, we’re talking about more than just a little redness on the skin. It can cause inflamed skin, which can flake or crack, scaly patches, small, raised bumps, as well as severe itching, especially at night.
If you have eczema, your skin is already uncomfortably dry. Autumn air will certainly not help. If you want to avoid making things worse for your eczema, here are some helpful tips you can follow to avoid eczema flare ups from now until spring.
Get a Humidifier
If you dusted off that heater to combat the cooler nights, you might notice your skin drying out even more than usual. To avoid an eczema flare up caused by dry heat, pick up a humidifier for your bedroom or even another for your main living areas. You can get them very inexpensively and they will work wonders to help your skin stay hydrated. Just be sure to clean them frequently to avoid any mold or mildew build up.
Wear Eczema-Smart Fabrics
Bundling up can cause irritation from chaffing as well as flare ups from overheating. Say ‘yes’ to breathable cottons and avoid scratchy materials such as wool or nylon. The same rules apply to the linens you use every day – bedsheets, blankets, wash cloths, and towels included.
Keep Skin Moisturized
To avoid flare ups, people with eczema prone skin need to stay vigilant about moisturizing rituals. After showers, baths, or swimming, lather it on to lock in hydration. Thicker creams are great or you can opt for a petroleum jelly. Your dermatologist might recommend a hydrocortisone to calm a flare up, which you would use in combination with your daily (more than once daily, that is) moisturizer.
Choose the Right Skin Products
From bath soaps to laundry detergents, every product your skin comes in contact with can potentially cause irritation. You’ll want to look for fragrance-free products without any dyes or alcohol, which is very drying. Definitely don’t bother with bubble baths, and when you want to take a bath, keep it brief and not too hot. The combination of hot water, which strips oils from the skin, and prolonged contact with bath soaps is not a great mix for eczema sufferers. Try products that contain soothing oatmeal and pat dry with a towel rather than scrubbing or rubbing, which contributes to itching.
This one is important for everyone. Hydrated skin begins from the inside out. If you want to avoid dry, itchy skin, drink plenty of water.
If you have any questions about how you can avoid eczema flare ups, ask one of The Derm Group’s board-certified dermatologists. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling 973.571.2121.