Taking special care of your skin when you have eczema is important all year long, but especially during hot summer months. People with eczema have skin that is sensitive to heat, cold, humidity, wind, and moisture.
This means you’re more likely to experience flares during certain weather. Developing an effective plan to care for your skin is a crucial part of avoiding flares.
Here at Riviera Allergy Medical Center, allergy and immunology specialist Dr. Ulrike Ziegner, MD, and our team of allergy professionals are here to help you best manage allergy and immune conditions so you can continue leading a full life.
Knowing how the weather affects your skin is key to enjoying the summer months without the misery of constant flare-ups. Take a moment to learn some of the best ways to take care of your skin during the hot summer months when you have eczema.
Some people with eczema get some relief in summertime weather, while others find that the heat irritates their skin and triggers flares. Before we discuss tips for coping with eczema during hot months, it helps to learn more about how weather affects your skin.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by patches of inflamed, itchy, cracked skin that feels rough in texture and may ooze or crust. Eczema affects more than 31 million people in the United States, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
People with eczema tend to have food sensitivities and allergies. An overactive immune system is involved in eczema, and children are more likely to develop eczema if a parent also has it.
Because eczema is an autoimmune disorder, the immune system mistakenly targets the skin, causing the inflammation and symptoms that patients with eczema experience. Research shows that blocking certain immune proteins improves eczema and significantly reduces disease activity.
Eczema and weather
Eczema causes damage to the outer layer of skin, preventing it from performing its job very well. The outermost layer (epidermis) of skin is tasked with retaining moisture and providing protection against ultraviolet rays from sunlight as well as pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
Because the epidermis doesn’t function as it should, your skin is sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, as well as humidity. Taking extra steps during hot months helps to keep flares at bay. The following are three practical tips to help you get by this summer.
It’s necessary to stay vigilant to keep yourself cool in hot months. If you’re outdoors when temperatures are high, it helps to stay in shaded areas as much as possible and carry a personal fan.
Try packing a “keep cool” kit and carry it with you on hot days. Remain inside if possible, on days when temperatures climb too high.
Staying dry in the summer is just as important as staying cool. For people with eczema, sweat can trigger a flare-up, especially if perspiration remains on the skin. On sweltering days, sweat is your body’s natural way of regulating your temperature to keep you cool.
Eczema makes your skin vulnerable to losing moisture too rapidly, and the minerals and other substances in your sweat easily irritate the skin. This makes for a combination that raises the risk of flare-ups. Since your skin has trouble retaining moisture, sweating causes problems.
If you start sweating, it’s crucial to wipe the sweat away immediately. Carry a towel with you if you plan to stay outdoors on a hot day.
A good moisturizing regimen is vital for people with eczema. Because your skin is less able to retain moisture, it’s necessary to apply a moisturizer regularly to keep your skin hydrated. Dr. Ziegner can recommend a moisturizer to best protect your skin.
Moisturizers recommended for people with eczema are formulated with ingredients that help protect your skin from extreme temperatures and keep it hydrated during hot summer months.
In addition to moisturizing, staying cool, and staying dry, it’s necessary to avoid things that may trigger flares, such as skin care products that contain fragrances. Make sure your detergent and skin care products are safe for sensitive skin, in particular fragrance- and dye-free.
If the eczema remains uncontrolled despite those precautions outlined above, there are several new steroid-free products, creams as well as systemic treatments, often prescribed to our patients.
It’s wise to have an immunology specialist on your team to help you live well with eczema. For eczema care and all of your allergy and immunology needs, call our Redondo Beach, California, office at 310-504-3242 to schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner.
You can also send a message to Dr. Ziegner and the team here on our website.