For people with eczema and psoriasis, winter can be a challenging few months to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups1,2.
Skin can become dry, red and irritated by things like a drop in temperature, central heating, wind, and low humidity3. Cold air tightens the skin’s pores and reduces blood circulation4, this reduces the naturally occurring oil known as sebum, which acts as a protective layer and traps moisture next to the skin5. These seasonal changes can be enough to cause increased flare-ups for those with dry skin conditions6. Problematic areas of the body may be the hands and face that are exposed to the elements.
Here we share our tips for the things you can do during this time to minimize flare-ups and keep your skin as comfortable as possible:
Listen to your skin and adapt your routine
Depending on your skin’s needs you may need to:
- Apply your emollient more regularly to keep your skin moisturised and your symptoms in check
- We’d recommend using a soap substitute, like EPIMAX® ExCetra Cream (all year round) so you don’t strip your skin’s natural, protective barrier
- Consider adding a new product into your usual routine that may deliver a bigger hydration boost, like a gel or ointment if you usually use a cream formulation
Tips to help manage your symptoms
- Wear gloves when you are outside to help protect your hands from the cold
- Turn the heating down when you are indoors and put on extra layers of clothing
- Limit your exposure to hot and dry environments like air-conditioned rooms or cars, or rooms containing open fires or wood burning stoves as they can further dry out the skin
- Drink plenty of water during the day to help keep your skin hydrated
- Think about the fabric you wear; some people find fabrics like silk to be less irritating on the skin7
- Avoid taking hot baths and showers, hot water strips the natural oils from the skin
- Adding more omega 3 and 6 to your diet in winter8
Everyone’s skin is different, which means that the product that works for you is unique to you. It’s important that you find a product that works for you, your symptoms and that fits around your lifestyle. Visit our product page to find a winter skincare moisturiser.
- National Eczema Society, Household Irritants Fact sheet, 2015. eczema.org/download-eczemafactsheets—home-environment
- Dr Amanda Oakley Dermatologist & Vanessa Ngan, ‘Sebum’ Dermatology Education New Zealand, 2014 http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/sebum/
- Ian Peate, ‘Caring for people with eczema’, IndependentNurse, 2013 http://www.independentnurse.co.uk/clinical-article/caring-for-people-with-eczema/63475/
- Anandan & U. Nurmatov, et al., ‘Omega 3 and 6 oils for primary prevention of allergic disease:systematic review and meta-analysis’, European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2009 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02042.x/full