For all eagerly awaited winter pleasures like hot chocolate by the fire there is always a disadvantage. For many of us it's dry, itchy skin. The cold outdoor climate and dry heat in the interiors often aggravate dry skin conditions such as eczema and affect the season.
In winter, eczema comes mainly from transepidermal water Loss or dehydration of skin cells and an impaired skin barrier due to lack of skin lipids. However, there are many different types of eczema and a dermatologist can diagnose what specific type you have. The best known is atopic dermatitis, which experts call "classic" eczema, as it can make the skin extremely dry, itchy and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis can also appear as small bumps filled with fluid that break when scratched and cause painful infections.
Dr. Shasa Hu Dermatologist at the University of Miami's Health System, tells SELF that she sees many people entering the office with a special eczema, asteatotic eczema, during the cold winter months. Asteatotic eczema gives the skin, especially in the lower legs, a fish scale-like appearance, making it rough and ashen. In more severe cases, says Hu, people may have itchy, red areas where the skin surface is broken, giving the skin a chapped appearance, much like broken porcelain. (Asteatotic eczema is also referred to as eczema craquelé.)
The treatments for both types of eczema require gentle skin care and frequent moisturizing. However, Hu states that atopic dermatitis occurs throughout the year and is usually genetically determined or enhanced by environmental allergies. Asteatotic eczema, however, is more seasonal, and fall and winter are the most common cases of eczema.
If you have eczema this winter, you still have time to adjust your skincare routine to deal with the itching and the pain with this expert advice.
. 1 Use a humidifier.
Dry air means drier skin . Experts therefore recommend using a humidifier in your bedroom to provide the air with moisture. Hu recommends the Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier $ 43 because it prefers cool mist over warm fog for safety reasons.
. 2 Minimize long showers.
Everyone enjoys a long, relaxing shower. It's an OG form of self-care, right? But showering too long – especially in the winter with hot water – strips off the natural oils from your skin and makes them even more dry, Lily Talakoub, dermatologist with Dr. med. McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center in Virginia, tells SELF. Instead, she recommends showering eczema for less than five minutes and using lukewarm water. In addition, high mineral content in tap water can dry out the skin and worsen eczema, she says.
. 3 Moisten twice a day with a thick cream or ointment.
"Eczema is a sign of skin sensitivity, and this sensitivity is often based on damage to the skin barrier, which leads to increased exposure to environmental allergens, chemicals and irritants," Hu said. If the skin barrier is compromised, it can cause a range of cellular reactions such as red, dry, and blotchy skin. Dermatologists we spoke with agreed that you need to moisturize twice a day with a thick cream, as the treatment of eczema symptoms takes at least four weeks to treat the symptoms of eczema.
The formulas for over-the-counter moisturizing products are all different. (A quick skincare primer: gels are mostly formulated with water and alcohol, while lotions are a combination of some oil and lots of water.) Creams contain equal amounts of oil and water, while ointments are mostly oil based, meaning they are are the softest.) In general, experts recommend choosing creams and ointments over gels and lotions because they contain more oil and are therefore more nutritious. Ointments generally stay longer on the skin than creams and gels, and experts simply recommend Vaseline $ 5 or Aquaphor $ 7 as two good ointments for eczema-prone skin.
As an alternative to those who dislike the oily texture of an ointment, Hu recommends Curel Hydra Therapy moisturizer for dry and extra-dry skin $ 9. It has a water-activated formula that allows nourishing ingredients such as ceramides and shea butter to penetrate deeper and stay on the skin longer. Like Vaseline and Aquaphor, it is fragrance-free, which is safe even for the most sensitive skin, she says. Experts say that as long as you are okay with oily skin, the thicker the cream or ointment is, the better as it keeps the moisture in the skin longer.
. 4 Attacks on natural substances.
Layers are usually layered in cold weather, but clothing made from synthetic fabrics can cause eczema in people with sensitive skin, Hu explains. Check the labels of your favorite knitwear and look for 100% pure cold weather fabrics like cotton, silk and cashmere. Wool and polyester may keep you warm, but may cause the skin to become irritated and reddened. Saint Haven's Second Skin Legging $ 88, is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial and the brand makes other loungewear for adults and children with sensitive skin.
Sleeping on cotton sheets can also make a difference, says Talakoub. Note that polyester blends can cause irritation in people with eczema. We recommend Gryphone's Comfort Washed Sheet Set $ 140, made from 100% pure Supima cotton.
. 5 Look for moisturizing ingredients in your skin care.
When shopping for moisturizers, be sure to check Hyaluronic Acid Squalene, Dimethicone, and Ceramide on because these moisturizing ingredients keep the skin in the skin. Talakoub recommends Peter Thomas Roth Water-soaked Hyaluronic Cloud Cream $ 52, and Hu likes Brandt Skincare Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask $ 52, an overnight gel moisturizer.
A trick that Hu recommends for both dry and eczema-prone skin is "to hydrate" – a cream-based moisturizer first, then "seal" the cream with an ointment-based product to eliminate water from the skin to prevent or minimize. Keep in mind that eczema stains on your body, where the skin is often thicker, require more frequent application than on the face.
. 6 Avoid known irritants in detergents.
The skin on our face can be more sensitive to chemicals and temperature changes as it is the most exposed part of our body, Hu explains. Therefore, when cleaning eczema on the face, make sure that your products contain the least amount of known irritants, eg. As additional fragrances, preservatives and surfactants. Any skin with eczema should be considered "sensitive skin" and you should be wary of regarding the ingredients in the products you use . "Once this immune system is sensitized, any exposure to chemicals or an impaired barrier caused by excessive skin drying will trigger the skin's immune system, causing flare-ups," Hu explains. In addition, foaming cleansers, gels, and shaving creams can also aggravate drought, so stick to cleansers that hydrate.
. 7 Do not use antioxidant gels, but do not use antioxidant serums.
While most skin care products are replaced in the summer during the winter, you can use your favorite serums all year round. Talakoub says humans could still use their antioxidant serum in winter, but advises them to avoid antioxidant gels that are sometimes prone to eczema. The reason? Gels are based on alcohol, which is better if you have greasy or acne prone skin, while most serums are oil based. Although alcoholic gels are less greasy, they can be irritating to dry, sensitive skin. For patients with eczema, it recommends iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus $ 148, which contains the powerful antioxidant vitamin C . Apply the serum as a first coat in the morning before applying heavier products.
. 8 A light scrub is fine, but do not overdo it.
A gentle exfoliation once or twice a week is important for the care of dry skin, as it penetrates the moisturizer better, says Hu. For people with eczema-prone skin, it recommends a soft washcloth or a honey-based sugar peeling for exfoliation. Avoid more aggressive body scrubs for exfoliation as they can additionally irritate dry, chapped skin.
You should also avoid hard scrubs or excessive retinol treatment, as these are stronger scrubs that can cause dryness in the winter, irritating eczema. We recommend Kate Somerville's gentle ExfoliKate Exfoliating Treatment $ 65, which contains Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, and Lactic Acid.
. 9 Oils are your friends.
Products formulated with natural oils such as argan or sunflower are recommended because they contain fatty acids that moisturize the skin. Talakoub prefers oil based cleaners for all skin types, including eczema. "They remove dirt and makeup without removing the skin's natural oils and skin barrier," she says.
Talakoub likes Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil $ 6, a gentle cleansing oil for the face. We recommend Avene XeraCalm AD Lipid Refreshing Cleansing Oil $ 31, which is formulated for people with eczema, and Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil $ 20, a cleansing oil for dry skin
10. Reduce other sneaky irritants in your life.
If you take short, lukewarm showers with a humidifier and brush your skin with nourishing creams, you still have irritated skin You need to look elsewhere in your area to find out what's wrong.
Experts recommend removing perfumes that can be irritating, whether they are made in a laboratory or come from a natural vegetable oil. Also choose detergents wisely and opt for fragrance and dye-free detergents such as Dropps by HE Sensitive Skin Laundry Detergent Pacs $ 30. Avoid chemical cleaning of your clothing as much as possible, since the chemicals used can cause eczema.
. 11 Know when it's time to seek medical treatment.
If you can not break the "Itch and Scratch" cycle, no matter how much moisturizer or anti-itch cream you use, experts recommend being medicated by a board-certified dermatologist. Some warning signs to watch out for: persistent itching, sleep disturbances or redness and yellow crusting, as this may be an indication of an infection. In general, topical prescription drugs are anti-inflammatory and will help accelerate the healing of eczema scanners, says Hu.