Managing Eczema is a common skin condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Medically known as atopic dermatitis, the condition results from the skin's natural immunity being weakened, which causes dry, itchy skin that can often be painful.
One of the critical factors that affect the flare-up of eczema symptoms is weather. While it is generally believed that the dry winter season worsens symptoms of eczema, the hot and humid weather poses unique challenges. Heat, sweat, and increased exposure to potential triggers like pool water and sunscreen can cause eczema flare-ups.
Fortunately, with the right strategies, you can help keep your eczema under control during the warmer months. Here are a few tips for managing eczema in summer, so let's get started.
1. Wear Loose, Breathable Clothes
Sweat is one of the worst enemies of eczema-prone skin. It contains salts like potassium and sodium, and when there is a build-up of salts on the skin, it leads to increased irritation and aggravates the symptoms of eczema.
One of the best ways to reduce exposure to such irritants is to wear loose-fitting clothes made from soft, breathable fabrics like cotton. Clothes made from organic materials like cotton can help maintain body temperature and reduce sweating.
Moreover, avoid wearing clothes made using wool or synthetic material as they can irritate the skin and cause sweating.
2. Moisturize Regularly
Dry skin triggers eczema. If you're prone to dry skin (and even if you have normal skin), make sure to moisturize regularly. Using a moisturizer every day acts as a barrier against potential triggers in the environment.
When moisturizing, make sure you use a fragrance-free moisturizer. Moreover, it's also important to moisturize your skin immediately after a shower while it is still damp. Moisturizing your skin at this time will help lock in moisture in the skin that can help against potential eczema flare-ups.
Furthermore, it's always best to keep your moisturizing gels and lotions in the refrigerator, as it can help you cool your skin.
One of the last but critical things about moisturizing your skin is to choose a moisturizer that contains ceramides.
Ceramides are lipids that are naturally found in the skin. These lipids help nourish the skin and create a protective barrier that can reduce eczema flare-ups.
3. Avoid Long, Hot Showers
Long, hot showers can dry out your skin. So, while using a moisturizer regularly is critical, it’s equally important to take quick, lukewarm showers.
Use lukewarm water during the shower, as hot water can deprive your skin of essential oils. Moreover, limit showers to 5-10 minutes and no more than once a day.
Pat your skin gently following a bath using a soft towel, and immediately apply a moisturizer to soothe your skin.
- Use Mild Soaps and Skincare Products
Many soaps and skin care products contain ingredients such as fragrances that can make the skin feel itchier and drier than before. These are potential triggers that can irritate sensitive skin and cause flare-ups.
It's, therefore, best to use mild soaps and skincare products free from dyes, allergens, and fragrances, as they often do not irritate dry and scaly skin.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated is the key to managing eczema. Drinking an adequate amount of water, especially during summer, can help balance out the oil and water content within the skin. Hence, it helps improve overall skin health and reduce dryness.
Moreover, it also flushes out toxins from the body, which help fight various skin issues, including eczema and psoriasis.
6. Protect Your Skin Against Direct Sun Exposure
For some individuals with eczema-prone skin, exposure to sunlight can flare up the condition. It is, therefore, best to avoid sun exposure as much as possible, especially during summer. Stay in a cool and shaded environment as much as possible, especially during peak heat hours.
Moreover, make sure you keep your body cool and sweat-free by using air conditioning and fans to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. However, if you are extensively using air conditioning during summer, know that it can also dry out your skin which may trigger an eczema flare-up. Hence, it's important to moisturize your skin regularly while protecting your skin against direct sun exposure.
7. Use Broad-Spectrum, Mineral-Based Sunscreen
Sun exposure can trigger eczema flare-ups in some individuals. Hence, it's best to avoid sun exposure. However, if getting outdoors is inevitable, make sure you apply a broad-spectrum, mineral-based sunscreen.
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF (30 or above) protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays. It's best to look for mineral-based sunscreens specifically designed for sensitive skin, as they offer the most protection by creating a barrier between your skin and the sun's rays.
8. Beware of Potential Triggers
The key to managing eczema is to beware of the potential triggers. What triggers eczema flare up varies among individuals. Therefore, you must pay attention to any triggers that worsen your eczema symptoms and make sure you avoid them.
Some of the common eczema triggers include soaps and detergents. Moreover, your choice of fabric can also aggravate eczema flare-ups. For some individuals, certain foods and environmental allergens can be potential triggers.
It’s best to keep a log to track your symptoms and identify potential triggers to avoid them in the future.
9. Seek Medical Assistance
If your eczema symptoms worsen during summer or you’re experiencing difficulty in managing your symptoms, it’s best to seek medical assistance.
Consult a dermatologist who can provide personalized recommendations and prescribe appropriate medications or treatments to help manage your eczema during the summer.