Why Is Eczema Worse in Cold Weather?

You’ve probably noticed that when the weather gets colder during the winter months, your eczema tends to flare up as well.

You fight back with moisturizing cream and lotions, but sometimes it feels like you’re fighting a losing battle, and you want to give up.

Here at Beverly Hills Allergy in Beverly Hills and Glendale, California, Dr. Sherwin Hariri and our team help patients manage their eczema almost every day. Here’s what you need to know about why your eczema gets worse during cold weather — and what you can do about it!

What is eczema?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by raised pinkish patches of dry skin that can itch, weep, flake, and become crusty. Symptoms can vary depending on the person, and flare-ups, or periods where the eczema becomes worse due to a trigger, are common.

One of the problems with eczema is that your skin barrier is compromised, so your skin doesn’t do a good job of keeping moisture in and allergens and irritants out, which can cause your skin to develop those familiar eczema patches.

Why is my eczema worse in the winter?

Eczema is exacerbated when the cold, dry air of winter hits. The conditions draw even more moisture out of your skin, leaving it more vulnerable to flare-ups. Add in the handwashing you’re doing to avoid flu germs, and the long, hot showers people tend to take in the winter, and your skin becomes even drier. 

Indoor heating systems tend to dry out the air and your skin more, and the extreme temperature changes from the cold outside air to the warm inside heat wreak even more havoc on your already irritated skin.

What can I do about my eczema?

There are a few things you can do to fight off winter eczema flare-ups. Grab a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect your exposed skin from the air on cold days, but make sure to avoid scratchy fabrics like coarse wool or polyester in favor of soft fabrics such as cotton.

Take a proactive step by using moisturizers morning and night to control itching and protect your skin. Make sure you put it on after your shower to hold the moisture in your skin longer. (Keep your showers and baths short, using warm water instead of hot.) Use a moisturizing cream or ointment — lotions are mostly made of water and won’t be enough.

You should also avoid skin cleansers that use the word “soap” or have fragrances. These can badly irritate your skin. Finally, sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom will add much-needed moisture back into the air and your skin.

If you’d like help managing your eczema, our team at Beverly Hills Allergy has the experience to guide you. Just set up an appointment at our office nearest you today by phone or book online.

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