Managing Eczema In Winter And Year Round: A Parents Guide
Cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can rob skin of its natural moisture in the winter. Red, crusty, dry patches can be common on a baby’s skin, particularly in winter, and cause concern for parents. Such symptoms can be treated, however, and many babies and children do outgrow the dry, itchy skin of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
We spoke with pediatric dermatologist Katherine Puttgen to learn more.
Symptoms Of Atopic Eczema
Atopic eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry, cracked and sore.
Some people only have small patches of dry skin, but others may experience widespread inflamed skin all over the body.
Inflamed skin can become red on lighter skin, and darker brown, purple or grey on darker skin. This can also be more difficult to see on darker skin.
Although atopic eczema can affect any part of the body, it most often affects the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
People with atopic eczema usually have periods when symptoms are less noticeable, as well as periods when symptoms become more severe .
How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
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What Are The Clinical Features Of Hand Dermatitis
Hand dermatitis may affect the backs of the hands, the palms, or both. It can be very itchy, often with a burning sensation, and is sometimes painful. It has acute, relapsing, and chronic phases.
Acute hand dermatitis presents with:
- Red macules, papules, and plaques
Features of chronic hand dermatitis include:
- Dryness and scale
There are various causes and clinical presentations of hand dermatitis.
Can Itchy Skin Be Prevented
To prevent itchy skin, use moisturiser after a shower or bath, while your skin is still damp. Make sure you have quick showers and dont have the water too hot.
Drinking lots of water to keep well hydrated and using a humidifier in dry weather can help.
You can also use a mild soap or a non-soap cleanser to prevent itchy skin.
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Use Shampoo And Conditioner According To Your Hair
The dryness of hair is common during the winter season. Certain shampoos and conditioners may reduce the level of sebum oil in the skin leading to conditions like dandruff. Using appropriate shampoo and conditioner is essential to prevent hair damage.
Sebamed everyday hair repair shampoo is free of soap and helps gently cleanse the scalp. It is sensitive on the scalps and free of alkali, which keeps it hydratedâadditionally, combining it with hair repair conditioner after shampooing helps improve dull and damaged hair.
- It cleanses the scalp and keeps it hydrated
- It helps fight dandruff and psoriasis
- It is made of mild formula which prevents the hair from being stripped from natural oils and soap-based shampoos
- It is free of irritants like propylene glycol, paraffin, parabens and phthalates
- The conditioner improves dull hair by restoring keratin layers
Eczema Coping Tips Beauty Products
Suggestions for using beauty products include:
- Remember that even hypoallergenic cosmetics can irritate your skin. Whenever possible, keep your face free of make-up.
- Avoid perfumes, fragranced skin lotions and strongly scented shampoos.
- When using a new cosmetic, try testing it first on a small, inconspicuous area of skin such as your forearm. If you experience a reaction, dont use the product again.
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How To Get Rid Of Gas Naturally
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and drink right before a meal. This can help to relieve digestive conditions including acid reflux and heartburn by boosting healthy bacteria and acid in the gut.
Try switchel, a fermented drink made from apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, real maple syrup and water. You can use natural sparkling water to add some fizz to the drink that may help you belch some of the gas in your system. Fresh ginger is known for combatting nausea, promoting digestion and protecting against stomach ulcers.
2. Clove Oil
Add 25 drops of clove essential oil to eight ounces of water to reduce bloating and gas. It may also help other digestive problems like indigestion, motion sickness and hiccups.
3. Activated Charcoal
Take 2 to 4 tablets of activated charcoal just before eating and again one hour after a meal to relieve gas pains. Activated charcoal may help relieve symptoms including flatulence, bloating and distention of the abdomen by eliminating gas trapped in the colon.
4. Digestive Enzymes
Take a full-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement as recommended. Look for a high-quality supplement that contains lactase to breakdown lactose in dairy, lipase to breakdown fats, amylase to breakdown starches and protease to breakdown proteins. For further digestive support, look for one with ginger and peppermint that also support healthy gut function.
Quench Your Skins Thirst
What is the strongest medicine to stop itching? Hydration!
As soon as you feel the itch creepin in, dampen the area and reach for a thick, fragrance-free moisturizer like virgin coconut oil or Vaseline. Does Vaseline stop itching? It does that and then some! Vaseline seals moisture into the skin to boost hydration and calm flare-ups.
We dont just mean boosting moisture on the outside. Upping your water intake also helps you tackle how to stop eczema itching immediately. So grab that cute hydro flask youve meant to use more and bottoms up! You might be surprised just how quickly H2O can trigger a skin glow-up.
Speaking of soothing skin from within
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What Causes Eczema To Wax To Flare
Different “triggers” can make eczema worse. For infants, these can be irritants such as wool, certain detergents or extreme temperatures, or other immune triggers, such as food allergies and asthma, and even pet dander.
Most kids with the condition have the hardest time in winter, when the air is cold and dry. A small percentage has a harder time in the summer, when it is hot and humid.
Alternative And Complementary Treatments
Acupuncture: This ancient Eastern practice is based on the belief that paths of energy flow through the body. When they become blocked, your health takes a hit. By gently inserting thin needles just under the surface of your skin, energy is âunstuck,â and your health may improve.
Studies show that people with eczema who try acupuncture or acupressure get relief from itching after only a few treatments.
Relaxation techniques: Thereâs a strong link between stress and your skin. Plus, youâre prone to scratch more when your emotions are running high.
Self-hypnosis, meditation, and biofeedback therapy have all been shown to ease eczema symptoms. You may also want to see a therapist. Doing so can ease stress. It can also help you change habits or negative thought patterns that may be adding to your skin problems.
Coconut oil: It seems to lessen the amount of staph bacteria on the skin, which lowers the chance of infection. Apply it to damp skin once or twice a day. âVirginâ or âcold pressedâ coconut oils are best because they donât have chemicals that could irritate the skin.
Sunflower oil: This oil is particularly good at holding in moisture. It may also lessen inflammation. Rub it in a couple of times a day, at least once after a shower or bath to seal in moisture. Donât use it if youâre allergic to sunflower seeds.
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What Does Eczema Look Like
Itching and rash is a common sign of skin rash. So sometimes, it becomes challenging to identify eczema because of the common symptoms. So let us note the specific characteristics of dermatitis or eczema.
- Eczema starts with intense itching.
- Red bumps are appearing in different sizes.
- Individuals who have nummular eczema develop coin shape round spots on the affected area with itching.
- Sometimes eczema can develop in round or oval shape and clusters of tiny pimples or patches with a thin scale.
What Triggers Eczema On The Hands
Experts arent sure why some people develop eczema on their hands. What they do know is that eczema happens when the skin barrier, which acts as a shield, is damaged.2 A healthy skin barrier is important because it locks in moisture and prevents irritants or allergens from penetrating the deeper layers of skin.3 Once you develop hand eczema, you may have times of relief, meaning very few symptoms, as well as periods of flare-ups. Anything that irritates your skin can trigger hand eczema: allergies, detergents, soaps, and even water because it zaps moisture from your skin, according to the AAD.
Stress can also play a role. Hand eczema can flare up if youre really stressed, Henry Wong, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, tells SELF. In fact, people who reported higher levels of stress had more severe symptoms compared to people with lower stress levels, according to a 2019 study of 119 people published in Hindawi.4
When it comes to dyshidrotic eczema, the cause is also a mystery. But researchers believe that people who have it are hypersensitive to certain things, such as nickel, and have a flare-up of symptoms when exposed to their sensitivities, according to the AAD.
Avoiding your triggers as much as possible is an important part of a hand eczema treatment plan.
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What Else Should I Know
If you live with eczema, tune in to what triggers it and how to manage it. For example, if you find that some types of makeup irritate your skin, ask a dermatologist to recommend brands that are less likely to do so.
Your self-esteem doesn’t have to suffer because you have eczema, and neither does your social life! Getting involved in your school and extracurricular activities can be a great way to get your mind off the itch.
Don’t forget to exercise. It’s a great way to blow off stress try walking, bike riding, swimming, or another sport that keeps your skin cool and dry while you work out.
Reasons Hand Eczema Flares Up
Hand eczema flare-ups are beyond annoying. It can cause redness, itching, cracks, blisters, and dryness to the point of peeling and flaking, but thats not all.
During a bad flare-up of hand eczema, fingers can swell and hands can hurt. Without proper treatment, hand eczema can become chronic. A severe case could even make it hard to button your clothes or use a computer.
So, what causes flares? Here are five of the most common triggers and tips for avoiding them.
Trigger 1: Exposure to water
Constantly wetting and drying your hands can break down skins protective barrier, especially when you have sensitive skin that is prone to dryness. Even after hands are dried, theres some water left that evaporates. When it does, it reduces skins natural oils, said Dr. Alissa OBrien, a dermatologist at Waters Edge Dermatology. If the water is piping hot, its even more irritating and drying.
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Eczema Coping Tips Good Hygiene
Skin affected by eczema is more vulnerable to a range of infections, including impetigo, cold sores and warts. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus may cause a secondary infection of impetigo, and possibly contribute to the symptoms of eczema.Suggestions for washing include:
- Take lukewarm baths or showers, and avoid really hot showers.
- Dont use ordinary soap, as the ingredients may aggravate your eczema. Wash your body with warm water alone. For armpits and groin, use soap-free products, such as sorbolene cream.
- Bath oils can help to moisturise your skin while bathing.
- When towelling dry, pat rather than rub your skin.
Liver Support And Detoxification
Your liver works hard to eliminate toxins from your body. Taking steps to support your liver can also help limit your eczema symptoms by improving your bodys ability to digest and absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins.
You can boost your bodys liver support by eating foods such as bitter greens like dandelion and kale. These greens make healthy and tasty additions to a salad. As a bonus, these are all part of a plant-based diet full of other nutrients and minerals essential for skin health. And for extra digestive help, you can make a quick salad dressing using ACV, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Another way to support your liver is by taking supplements such as dandelion or milk thistle. Milk thistles active compound is called silymarin, which has been found to have liver protective benefits.
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So How Can I Instantly Stop Itching
Wait a minute instantaneous eczema relief is a thing? Yas, queens! When you understand the root of your eczema flare-ups, soothing the itch and calming the skin is so much easier. *cue the harp music*
And guess what? You dont have to splurge on a ton of expensive products or fancy gadgets to do it, either.
So, how do you calm down eczema fast and soothe that unignorable b*tchI mean itch?
Does Hand Eczema Go Away
With the right treatment and lifestyle changes, mild eczema, characterized by occasional itching and symptoms that dont interfere with your daily life, usually gets better within a few weeks, Dr. Silverberg says. But it could take longer if you have really frequent, ongoing itching that takes a toll on your everyday life. I tell patients that if it took two years to get this way, its going to take some time to clear up. Its not getting better overnight, Dr. Silverberg says.
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Who Does Dyshidrotic Eczema Affect
Dyshidrotic eczema can affect anyone. However, it most commonly affects people:
- Between the ages of 20 and 40.
- Assigned female at birth.
- With a personal or family history of eczema.
- With a personal or family history of contact dermatitis.
- Who develop allergic reactions when they touch an antigen, which is a foreign substance that causes an allergic reaction.
- Who receive immunoglobulin infusions. Intravenous immunoglobulin is an injection of antibodies for people with an immune deficiency.
About 50% of dyshidrotic eczema cases occur in people who have allergic reactions when they touch an antigen. Researchers think that people assigned female at birth may be more likely to develop dyshidrotic eczema because they more frequently interact with certain antigens, like nickel and cobalt in jewelry.
What Causes Eczema In Infants And Children
Eczema is brought about by the complex interplay of a genetic predisposition and the childs environment. Many things from the climate to possible allergens can cause eczema to flare. We know that eczema tends to run in the families with a predisposition to other atopic diseases, such as food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Individuals with atopic dermatitis may lack certain proteins in the skin, which leads to greater sensitivity. Parents with eczema are more likely to have children with eczema. However, the exact way it passes from parents to children is still not known. Most children who have eczema will show signs of the condition in the first year of life. It tends to wax and wane in severity.
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What Can I Expect If I Have Dry Skin
Most people can successfully treat dry skin by using a daily moisturizer and taking proactive steps like minimizing exposure to hot temperatures and other irritants. Its a good idea to take care of dry skin for your overall health. Rough, dry skin can feel uncomfortable and if your skin gets too dry, it can crack and break open, which makes you more prone to infection.
Balancing The Skins Acidity Levels
Vinegar is highly acidic. The skin is naturally acidic, but people with eczema may have less acidic skin than others, which can weaken the skins defenses.
Applying diluted apple cider vinegar could help balance the skins acidity levels, but vinegar can cause burns if it is not diluted.
In contrast, many soaps, detergents, and cleansers are alkaline. They can disrupt the acidity of the skin, which can leave the skin vulnerable to damage. This may explain why washing with certain soaps can cause eczema flares.
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Favorite Site For Dyshidrotic Eczema Management Products
The National Eczema Association hosts an online store of eczema-friendly products bearing the NEA Seal of Acceptance, which means they are made for people with moderate-to-severe symptoms. Find cotton gloves, moisturizers, cleansers, and household cleaning products that are designed to protect and not irritate your skin.