Winter is officially here and the media keep stating that this winter is going to be very cold like the ‘beast from the east’ in 2018. Therefore, I thought that now is an ideal time to share some tips on what I have done personally during the winter months to manage eczema symptoms. Please be aware that everyone is unique and what worked for me may not work for everyone.
Firstly, I am careful with wearing anything made out of wool. Some types of wool have caused irritation to my skin including rashes and feeling extra hot. One way around this is to wear a thin long sleeve top underneath a woolly jumper so that the wool is not direct on the skin. As I have eczema on my lower legs and feet I avoid wearing thick woolly socks as these are likely to irritate me. I wear cotton socks with slippers at home and with boots while out. I sometimes take an extra pair of cotton socks in case it is very cold or they get wet in rain or snow.
Secondly, I have to take into consideration what scarfs I have round my neck. This is a case of working out what materials are more irritating than others. I’ve had some synthetic ones which cause rashes around my neck as well as woolly ones. Last winter I bought a thick scarf from Primark which is acrylic has kept me warm and has not given me any issues.
The third thing I do is avoid anything nylon especially tights. The good news is that there is a solution! Marks and spencer sell cotton tights which have a glossy look and have never had any issues with them (the link for this is below under the useful links section). I also have bought cotton tights from Primark which are thick with a wool appearance which is good for warmth as well as no irritation.
Moving on, I use thicker moisturisers and also ensure that I take cream/moisturiser with me when out and about and moisturise throughout the day. I keep my hands moist to avoid them from getting dry and cracked in the cold and wear gloves. Lip gloss also acts as another moisturiser as it prevents the lips from getting dry, however, I think this one would apply to anyone, not just people who have eczema.
Long use of central heating at home can cause the air to become dry which is prone to drying out the skin because it is taking away the moisture from the skin. I don’t have this issue personally but research has shown that something to humidify the air (i.e. a humidifier) may help.
I always use cotton bed sheets and although I like to wear extra layers in winter to be warm and cosy, it is also important not to get too hot as this can cause sweating which can irritate eczema.
Stress may trigger eczema so generally just trying to remain calm and avoiding getting too stressed out if necessary. I understand that life happens, challenges and trials will come to us at any time of year but the more stressed and anxious we are the more likely we are to have eczema flare-ups.
Drinking water is also important all year round, the more we keep ourselves hydrated then less likely our skin will dry out.
The last thing I do to cope with the winter months is to take vitamin D tablets. Our vitamin D levels are likely to decrease during the winter due to lower temperatures and lack of sunshine. Research has shown that this may help with skin issues.
Below are a few links which I found researching online which may be useful: