No parent wants to see their child miserable. Unfortunately, eczema flare-ups can leave them so uncomfortable from itchy, irritated skin that they can’t even sleep. Worse yet, this condition can cause even more problems for tender, sensitive skin in winter. But it doesn’t have to.
Eczema may cause ongoing issues, but our Advanced Allergy & Asthma team can help control your child’s symptoms. One key component involves recognizing common triggers so they don’t take you by surprise. Can you guess a leading culprit? That’s right — winter.
If your child has eczema, here’s how you can protect their skin from flare-ups when the temps start to drop.
Winter and eczema
Unlike other skin conditions, eczema is an atopic disease that develops because of a person’s genes and environment. So, if you have eczema, it’s more likely your child will also. Having eczema also increases your chances of other atopic diseases, like asthma, hay fever, and food allergies.
When you have eczema, there’s a problem with your skin barrier — or the stratum corneum. This part of the body protects you from everything in the outside world. However, it needs to retain moisture to perform its job. And, if you have eczema, it has a harder time staying hydrated, which causes your skin to become irritated and inflamed from the environment.
Winter conditions exacerbate this condition because cold, dry air can zap even more moisture from the skin. And when skin grows dry, eczema flare-ups occur, causing symptoms that often include:
- Itchy, cracked, or dry skin
- Rashes or small, raised bumps
- Losing, crusting, or thickened skin
- Raw, sensitive areas from scratching
- Skin discoloration around the eyes
It’s also common for these symptoms to worsen on parts of the body exposed to winter elements, like the hands or face.
Managing eczema in winter
Whether your child has mild or severe eczema, taking proactive measures to avoid flare-ups is essential. But where do you start? By caring for sensitive skin with these five steps.
Frequent moisturizing is critical for maintaining hydration. Our team recommends applying a liberal moisturizer at least twice daily and from head to toe within three minutes of bathing. We can recommend the best products for your child, but it usually starts with fragrance-free formulas for sensitive skin.
2. Rethink bathtime
It’s tempting to take a hot bath or shower daily when the winter winds blow. However, excessive bathing can worsen dry skin, especially when using high temps.
Instead, bathe your child as needed and shorten their sessions in warm water to less than 10 minutes. Once complete, gently pat them dry to avoid irritating their delicate skin barrier — and don’t forget to moisturize!
3. Skip the soap
We know what you’re thinking — skip the soap? Trust us; there are better cleansers for your child’s sensitive skin.
Soaps that leave you with that “squeaky clean” feeling often strip too much moisture from the skin. To avoid this problem, choose soap-free cleansers and fragrance-free products with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance on the label.
4. Avoid dramatic temperature changes
Abrupt temperature changes are a surefire way to irritate sensitive skin. While avoiding going in and out of doors all season long is impossible, you can make it easier on your child’s skin by protecting exposed areas with gloves, scarves, and hats.
Similarly, avoid exposing cold skin to hot water. Wait until their hands or body warm up before washing or bathing.
5. Use a humidifier
Colder temps mean dryer air, both outdoors and indoors. You may not be able to do anything about Mother Nature, but you can add moisture to your house with a humidifier. For the best results, put the unit in the room where your child spends the most time, like their bedroom.
Finally, these are just a few ways to help keep your child comfortable this winter, but you’re not alone. Our team can offer a more comprehensive strategy to manage their symptoms all year.
Does your child have eczema? Contact Advanced Allergy & Asthma to schedule a consultation with one of our experts in Ogden, Utah, today.