Dealing with Eczema During the Winter Months

Woman applying eczema cream Dealing with Eczema During the Winter Months

Eczema is a frustrating skin condition all year long, but winter can make things even harder on your skin. While dealing with eczema during the winter months can be more challenging, there are a few things you can do to make your life a lot easier.

Understanding and Treating Eczema

What Makes Eczema Worse in Winter?

Eczema, as you may know, is a condition that causes skin to become dry and inflamed. Affected skin is usually very itchy, and in many cases it gets worse at night. Physically speaking, eczema can take on a few different appearances. Some people experience dry, scaly and cracked skin while others have raw and red, irritated skin. In some cases, eczema will appear as an outbreak of fluid filled bumps on the skin. Eczema can happen to anyone at any time, but many people are first diagnosed with eczema as a child.

Winter weather contributes to eczema flare ups for a few reasons. One of the key reasons that the winter months are so hard on people with eczema is the distinct lack of humidity. Warm, summer and spring air can retain a great deal of moisture. While our skin doesn’t necessarily need a balanced humidity, muggy summer air is not a trigger for eczema. On the other hand, winter air can be almost completely humidity free. Since eczema is an issue of dryness, first and foremost, it’s really no surprise that it gets worse as the weather grows colder.

Humidity isn’t just outside either, so don’t think being bundled up at home with a cup of cocoa is a good line of defense. Your indoor air suffers the same fate as outside air, and heating systems in homes and offices produce dry, warm air that can make matters even worse. Bundling up in layers of clothing and blankets might also be triggering your eczema. Irritation from common materials like wool or nylon in socks, sweaters, jackets and hats can all bother eczema-prone skin. Breathable materials like cotton are much better for the skin and can prevent overheating. Skin that’s too hot or stifled can also be more prone to flare-ups.

Preventing and Treating Eczema This Winter

There are a lot of ways you can counteract winter’s harmful effect on your skin this year. Many of them involve tackling the particular issues head on. When dealing with the dry air indoors, get a humidifier. A humidifier is an excellent way to get the humidity of your living space to a much higher level. This keeps the dry air from removing your skin’s moisture and making matters worse for your eczema.

Finding and using a healthy moisturizer is another way to stave off dryness all year long. In the winter months, you may need a heavier moisturizer than you typically use in the summer and spring. These moisturizers create and strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier, keep it where it belongs. Eczema does pose problems with moisturizer, so you may need to consult your dermatologist on the best product for you.

While the sun is still always a concern for your skin’s help, it does serve a role in keeping eczema under control. When the sun is further away, you might be wondering how you can get more vitamin D. You can’t move the planet, but you can bring the light to you. Light therapy with light boxes is an effective way you and your dermatologist can get you the vitamin D you need safely and naturally, in a controlled environment. Vitamin D supplements can also be prescribed to help out, and studies have shown these to be effective in helping with eczema as well.


Regardless of the severity of your eczema, winter will try to make matters worse. Don’t let it happen this winter, call the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates for a consultation today.

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