Skin Care Tips For Summer Eczema Flare Ups
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is probably not part of your summer vacation plans, but in any case, if you suffer from eczema, you’re bound to get a flare up or two as the temperature rises. While eczema is known to cause trouble any time the weather changes, summer eczema flare ups come with their unique set of problems. For one, rising temperatures makes covering up with clothing uncomfortable, which can also lead to excess sweating and skin irritation. In addition, air conditioners can be extra drying to the skin, which can force you to use twice as much moisturizer. Summer also brings more plant allergens and, in some areas, wildfire smoke that can stir up those pesky allergies. Take extra care of your skin this summer with these tips for preventing summer eczema flare ups.
Keep your body temperature regulated. While sweat is a natural body function meant to cool you down, the trace minerals in sweat like zinc, copper, calcium and potassium can end up irritating eczema further. To avoid this, adopt different ways to regulate your temperature with spritzing fans, cold cloths, and plenty of time in the shade.
Go swimming. The ocean is great for the skin, as the saltwater (in combination with careful exposure to UV rays and vitamin D) has tremendous healing properties. But saltwater does pull moisture out of the skin, so you will want to rinse off after swimming and remember to moisturize immediately.
Refrigerate gels and creams. Keep your healing gels and moisturizing creams on ice to add a more cooling sensation to the skin when you apply them.
Stay away from sticky, itchy fabrics. The nice thing about summer is that loose-fitting clothing made of cotton and linen are in style, so you can stock up! Cotton and other natural fabrics are the most comfortable for your skin, since they are breathable and soft.
Choose the right sunscreen. Since eczema is a skin barrier condition, the skin is more susceptible to sunburns. Make sure you have a sunscreen that blocks without stinging your sensitive skin. Look for products with the NEA Seal of Acceptance.
Hydrate. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea, and coconut water and fill up on hydrating foods like cucumber, watermelon, berries and leafy greens. Infuse your water with electrolyte-boosting lemon and cucumber, as these foods are also anti-inflammatory and can help calm flare ups.
Upgrade your shower session. After a long day sunbaking at the beach, it might be tempting to just plop down on the sofa and take in a film. Before you settle in, rinse off all that sand and sunscreen in the shower. If you can handle it, a cold shower invigorates the skin and calms eczema. Be sure to use a gentle, unscented soap that can effectively remove sunscreen. To get the most from your lotion, moisturize as soon as you get out of the shower while your skin is still damp. Cooling towels will also make drying off much more comfortable. You can buy these cooling towels online.
Bring your own linens when traveling. This might sound a little extreme, but if you experience flare ups easily, then hotel sheets and bath towels might irritate your skin. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether or not this is worth it. At the very least, bring your own bath towels and wear full length, cotton pajamas to bed–just in case the hotel uses a detergent that might irritate your skin.
Be selective with your creams. Many eczema creams contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is an emulsifier and a known skin irritant. Choose naturally moisturizers that contain calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients like Eksem Moisturizing Body Cream.
About the Authors
William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.
Dr. Gil Price
Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.