Why Does Eczema Flare Up In Winter? 7 Tips On How To Cope
We’ve all been there, right? Your skin is perfectly smooth and soft in the summer then BAM - the nights draw in, the temperature drops and your eczema flares.
It’s a frustrating (and annoyingly predictable) part of life for many eczema sufferers.
But don’t worry, all is not lost. We’re here to break down ‘winter eczema’ for you and lay out some simple treatment tips and advice that should provide you the relief you’re looking for.
In this article, you’ll find:
1) What is eczema? (Just briefly)
2) Common symptoms
3) Why does it sometimes get worse in winter?
4) 7 top tips for a simple home treatment plan
So, what is eczema?
Usually eczema will appear in ‘flare ups’ - where the skin reacts with an external/internal trigger and responds with excessive and persistent symptoms.
By the age of five it’s predicted that 1 in 10 children are diagnosed with eczema. Even though the majority grow out of the condition by older age, many adults still suffer throughout their 20’s and beyond.
With eczema it’s possible to experience the following symptoms:
- Dry, sensitive spots
- Patches of irritation or redness
- Oozing or crusting
- Areas of swelling
Why does eczema sometimes get worse in winter?
We know this is a must in winter (and we’re not for a minute suggesting you turn it off altogether and sit there in the cold) but central heating can have some adverse effects - like causing the air inside your home to dry out. This then sucks all the moisture from your skin and makes it much more difficult to keep it hydrated - a bad combo for eczema sufferers.
It can also desensitise your body to the cold weather, meaning when you do go outside it’s more of a shock to your skin. This constant back and forth between cold air outside and warm air in, is a winning recipe for a flare up.
Touched on above, cold air in winter and the low humidity that often comes with it, can make it much more difficult for your skin to retain moisture.
The holiday season can be for some the best time of year, but it also comes with a hectic schedule and usually: stress. Whether it’s the frantic pace at work, seeing the in-laws or cooking Christmas lunch, there can often be anxiety or unease associated with the festive season.
This can then in turn lead to inflammation and be the trigger for a flare up.
We know that big, fluffy, woolly jumper is your favourite come winter, but the truth? It’s probably bad for your eczema.
Harsh fabrics and man-made synthetics are common culprits for triggering an eczema rash - so it might be time to re-think the winter wardrobe.
You’ve been good all November, right? Keeping a food diary, avoiding gluten, staying away from sugar. But the fact is, winter often accompanies a more care-free approach to one's diet and the inclusion of a number of treats you wouldn’t usually touch.
If your skin is getting triggered in winter and you’re not sure why - diet could be the issue.
Top tips for a simple home treatment plan
1) Yan-yee skincare calming spray
All this dry air is great for causing itchy skin, so whatcha guna do? Luckily, we got you covered!
Our very own plant-based calming spray just so happens to be the bees knees at stopping the need to itch and nourishing dry skin. Inspired by Chinese herbal medicine, our unique formula has been especially designed to combat the symptoms of allergy-prone skin.
Oh and the best bit? It’s steroid, paraben and fragrance free :)
2) Moisturise regularly
This should be obvious - but it’s worth repeating.
YOU NEED TO MOISTURISE MORE IN WINTER - we’re talking at least twice daily (sorry for the caps).
We’ve just babbled on about how cold and dry air sucks the moisture from your skin, so do yourself a favour, please. Rehydrate regularly with your favourite emollient.
3) Understand your triggers
This is important any time of the year, but even more so in winter. Your skin is on high alert when it’s cold and just looking for an excuse to flare up, so understanding and avoiding your triggers is key to winning the battle against eczema in chillier months.
Once you do - avoid. Forever.
4) Relax and relieve stress
Take a step back, pause, breathe. Especially in the festive season when life flies by like a rocket, you need to prioritise your mental health.
We like to preach meditation, mindfulness and exercise as great strategies here. Jump over to our social channels @yanyeeskincare to find out more and check out Headspace.
5) Avoid rapid temperature changes
Don’t go walking to the pub in just a t-shirt and then sit by the fire as soon as you’ve grabbed a drink - hell no. Hot cold hot cold is no good for your skin, so the aim should be to keep yourself at a constant temperature whenever possible.
Keep the climate in each room of your house stable, scorching hot baths should be avoided and try to layer up when you expose yourself to the elements.
Overall just try to be sensible and always think skin first, rest of life's decisions second.
6) Use a humidifier
This can be a great technique for putting moisture back into the air in your home. If you love sticking the central heating on, maybe also invest in a humidifier to try and counteract the dry air.
Of course, they can be expensive so they’re not for everyone and you must be aware of the dust mites it can create (if that’s one of your triggers).
A simple alternative can be to place a bowl of water in each room - but be sure to watch out for bacteria growth and change it daily!
7) Consider a Vit D supplement
With the lack of sun your skin is getting in winter, a Vit D supplement can be a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs but isn't getting.
A review of studies from 2016 suggests that Vit D can significantly improve the symptoms of eczema - worth a try we think!
Winter can be tough regardless, let alone if you suffer from eczema. The best thing you can do is set a skincare plan, and stick to it. Hopefully our advice above can give you a nudge in the right direction :)
What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know!
The yan-yee team
- The effects of low humidity on your health and comfort. (n.d.). Link
- Liu YZ, et al. (2017). Inflammation: The common pathway of stress-related diseases. Link
- Why you need more Vitamin D in winter. (2020). Link
- How the seasons affect your eczema. (2018). Link