Does it seem that eczema is harder to manage when the temperatures are at extremes? Hot and cold weather can cause an eczema flare up. While you can’t control the weather, there are some things you can do to help manage your eczema in extreme temperatures. In both hot and cold weather, it’s best to be prepared. AD RescueWear has you covered. Below are some tips to help you cope.
In hot and humid weather, sweat and sweaty clothing against your skin can cause eczema to flare. Sweating dehydrates the skin and adds more salt and irritants to the skin, causing it to itch and rash. You may notice a red rash or itching occurs in your most sweat prone areas such as the insides of elbows, underarms, and the backs of your knees. In addition, people who suffer with eczema can be overly hot anyway and have trouble regulating body heat. Our son who suffers with eczema used to faint if he was in the heat so we always went to parks with plenty of shade. Now that he’s older, the heat doesn’t affect him as much but we’re still prepared. He plays baseball when it's hot out in direct sun and games can last for a couple of hours. We bring lots of water and his Wrap-E-Soothe Sleeves. If he gets too hot, we dip them in cold water so he can wear them on his wrists or elbows to cool off. If you're exercising outside wear loose lightweight clothing made with breathable and moisture wicking fabrics. Bring a hat or umbrella to provide shade.
Alternatively, cold temperatures can also cause eczema to flare. Sweat can build up as you’re bundled in layers of warm clothing. Dress in layers that can be removed if you become too hot - especially if playing sports outside in the winter such as skiing or sledding. Exposed skin on your face and hands can crack and flare in the cold dry air and wind. Protect these areas with moisturizer and sunscreen, a hat and gloves. The indoor heat can also dry out your skin, so using a humidifier can help.
Tips for managing hot and cold temperature extremes and eczema:
- In both hot and cold temps, start the day with your usual skin care routine of cleansing and a layer of emollient to protect your skin.
- Add a good sunscreen on top of your usual moisturizer.
- Dress in layers of lightweight, breathable clothing that you can add to or take off depending on the temperature.
- If adding a sweater or coat make sure to choose one made with a soft, non-irritating fabric.
- In the heat, use cool compresses, or try wearing cool wet wraps on arms or legs and take frequent breaks in the shade. Bring a hat or umbrella to protect from too much sun.
- In cold weather, wear a lightweight base layer under your regular winter clothing. A wicking, thermo-regulating fabric is best as it will help to absorb the sweat and keep you warm.
- In cold temps choose a hat, scarf/neck gator made with fleece or other soft fabric as wool can irritate sensitive and eczema skin.
- In both hot and cold weather, drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
- Shower after sweating and repeat your regular skin care moisturizing routine.
- Sleep with lightweight, breathable bedding in a cool room (not too cold, not too hot) in both hot and cold temps to prevent you from sweating too much at night.
- Use a humidifier when it’s dry inside.
Don’t let extreme temps stop you from enjoying yourself. A bit of preparation can make managing your eczema easier. And if you do get a bad flare you can’t manage with your normal skin care routine, make sure to call your doctor.