Summer is just around the corner here in Maryland, which means it’s almost time to shed the layers and let your skin enjoy a little sun. If you are among the 30% of Americans who suffer from eczema, though, the warmer weather may leave you feeling a little self-conscious and worried about flare-ups.
Eczema is a challenging condition to live with no matter what time of year it is. You can’t always control the environmental factors that cause flare-ups, but here are some practical tips to manage your skin and keep it from getting too dry and itchy year around.
Drink lots of water
Not only will this help keep your skin from getting too dehydrated, it’s good for your overall health. It may feel like a bit of a nuisance at first to be carrying around a water bottle everywhere, but your body will thank you. If you’re a soda drinker, try replacing your soda with water. The sugar, sodium, caffeine, and plethora of other ingredients will only make you more dehydrated. So, swap out your cola for a cool glass of water and you will be well on your way to better health.
If there was a superfood that you applied to your skin instead of eating, it would be shea butter. More than just a moisturizer, it also has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits along with some light sun protection (SPF 6). Shea butter even promotes collagen production to help your skin look smooth and healthy.
Use it like you would any other lotion. You can also apply it after getting out of the sun to refresh your skin or when you finish showering. Just make sure not to lather on so much that your pores start to clog or get irritated.
Speaking of showering, try turning the temperature cold for a minute or so right before you finish. Not only does a cold shower help your skin, but it can also boost your immunity, improve circulation, and promote hair health, too.
Cold showers help eczema specifically by keeping your skin from losing too many natural oils in the wash, resulting in dryness and irritation. Cold water is also not as harsh on your skin. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to start off cold to reap the benefits. You can begin your shower with nice, soothing warmth as usual and wait to turn it chilly for the last minute or two.
Sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom will help keep your skin from drying out overnight. It also provides some nice white noise that may help you sleep better. If you aren’t a fan of the noise, there are several brands out there specifically designed to operate quietly so you can sleep soundly.
Natural, loose-fitting fabrics
Lastly, wear clothing made from natural fabrics as much as possible, especially cotton or silk. The natural materials don’t irritate the skin as much as synthetic fabrics and are typically more breathable. Silk is best, though it can be pricey. Cotton is good, too, but bear in mind that it doesn’t absorb moisture very well. If you start to sweat, the cotton may cause problems.
We can help
Eczema doesn’t have to control your life. Even if there is no current cure, there are plenty of ways to help keep a handle on the condition—from prescription creams to immune system support or even ultraviolet treatment. If your eczema is keeping you from living your life the way you want, give us a call to talk to one of our skin care professionals today at Esterson Dermatology.