The word eczema describes any of several conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. While there are several types, they nearly all cause an itchy rash. Eczema can occur anywhere, but it most commonly affects the face, wrists, hands, feet or back of the knees.
Some people have “flare ups” during which the eczema becomes worse than usual. In many cases, the “flare ups” are caused by predictable irritants.
Some people, for example, have a “flare up” if they are exposed to animal dander or come into contact with rough or coarse materials. Temperature extremes, like intense cold, can also cause “flare ups.” That includes conditions generally associated with winter.
Changes in the weather can also cause “flare ups.” No matter what the weather does, there are ways to prevent a “flare up” or at least lessen its severity.
One of the best ways to keep eczema under control is to use moisturizer. Cold, dry air makes dry skin even drier and can thus cause a “flare-up.” A moisturizer will keep skin from getting too dry, and it will also prevent it from itching.
The best moisturizers will be plain and unscented, and they won’t contain chemicals or additives, for they can irritate skin. Thick ointments and creams are usually the most effective in treating eczema.
Use a humidifier
Indoor air can get quite dry, which can make eczema worse. Similarly, changes in humidity or temperature can also trigger eczema. A humidifier will moisten dry indoor air. Humidity levels of 45 to 55 percent are usually optimal.
Don’t get overheated
Heat and especially sweat can also trigger eczema in some people. People with such triggers should stay in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. Patients who go to the gym should take a brief shower after their workout and then slather on a moisturizer.
Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated will keep eczema symptoms at bay. An eczema patient’s skin lacks the compounds needed to retain water effectively, which means it dries out more quickly. Drinking water therefore helps the skin retain moisture.
Choose clothing carefully
Rough, coarse materials like wool can irritate the skin. Warm as wool is, an eczema patient should not wear it – at least not directly on their skin.
If the patient has to go outside, they should dress in layers and put on a scarf and gloves to protect the face and hands, which are sensitive. Since wool gloves can irritate the skin, it is best to choose leather or cotton gloves.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you are dealing with eczema, contact Dermatology Associates today to schedule an appointment. We are located in Norwood, MA, and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you.