If you struggle with eczema, you might have noticed it tends to worsen during colder months. This boils down to a few factors associated with colder weather. It can be incredibly frustrating, but understanding these will help you be better prepared to minimize future flare-ups!

1. Cold air is often dry. In contrast with muggy summer weather, winter months are often devoid of humidity and leave your skin particularly prone to eczema flare-ups. While moisturizer is a key part of a good skincare routine all year round, your skin may need a stronger product during colder months. The National Eczema Association has a great list of dermatologist-approved products, but if you’re uncertain about what to use, don’t hesitate to ask your provider.

2. Rapid temperature changes trigger flare-ups. During the winter, you might go from your warm home or office to the cold outdoor air and back again several times a day. These rapid changes in temperature are often a trigger in themselves. While you certainly don’t want to turn off your heater, you might consider buying a humidifier to use during these months, which will help your skin retain some moisture when going in and out of the cold.

3. Increased dust and mold particles indoors can contribute. With decreased ventilation in your home comes an increase in particles that trigger flare-ups for some eczema sufferers. For this reason, many professionals recommend ramping up your dusting and vacuuming during the cold months.

4. Common winter illnesses, such as colds and flu, can cause flare-ups or make them worse. While it’s not possible to prevent all exposure to these viruses, having a strong immune system and reducing stress can go a long way. Make sure to allow yourself enough rest, eat a balanced diet, and drink enough water. It’s also important to stay home if you are sick, and to wash or sanitize your hands regularly to avoid infection.

While eczema can be stressful and frustrating, taking these steps can help you minimize how much flare-ups affect you during the winter months. However, everyone’s skin is unique and varying climates in different regions can also influence how much you are affected. When in doubt, consult a professional for guidance!

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