By Michelle Day
As the seasons change and we move into colder weather, our skin can take a beating. A sudden weather change alone can be enough to cause an outbreak, but factor in a cold, dry environment and you could be in for some serious suffering. Changes in humidity combined with brisk weather can suck the moisture from your skin and worsen conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Here are some small changes you can make prevent a flare-up:
1. Moisturize daily – Moisturizing is key to preventing eczema and psoriasis outbreaks. Use thicker creams instead of lotions. Try applying all-natural moisturizers like olive or coconut oil to the skin. Stay away from creams containing fragrances and harsh chemical additives.
2. Take extra precaution bathing – Be careful not to bathe in very hot water. Take showers rather than soaking in bathtubs. This can strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in excessive dry skin. Avoid any cleansers containing sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate that can irritate skin.
3. Monitor your home environment – Though running the heater sounds like a great way to keep warm in the cold weather season, it can substantially dry out your skin even more. Run the heat only when necessary and try using a humidifier to keep the moisture in your home.
4. Don’t scratch – This is a bit of a no-brainer, but a very important practice. Though you will feel the intense need to scratch that itch, try your best not to. Scratching the skin will only make it worse. If the itching is unbearable, apply a mild topical hydrocortisone ointment to the area.
5. Wear soft fabrics – Scratchy fabrics like wool may not be the best option to stay warm when you already have itchy skin. Wearing rough fabrics could potentially set off an outbreak or irritate your skin further. Try to stick to soft, breathable fabrics for comfort.
6. Take supplements – Try taking fish oil capsules to help maintain your skin’s moisture from the inside out. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, taking fish oil regularly can also help reduce inflammation caused by eczema.
7. Hydrate your body – Drinking water can provide almost instant repair for your skin. Aim to drink eight cups of water or more every day. Keeping your body well hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your skin, especially in dry weather when your skin needs it the most.
8. Minimize the stress – The stress of the upcoming holiday season can wreak havoc on your skin. Try taking a meditation break or 10 minute walks throughout your day to monitor the stress you may be feeling.
Eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions that are affected by cold, dry weather can be very painful and frustrating. By making these simple changes, you can prepare your skin for the upcoming transition into fall and winter weather.
– Michelle Day is a writer and web strategist who takes special interest in healthy living and lifestyle. As a skin wellness enthusiast, she is also the lead copywriter for Forefront Dermatology, which specializes in expert skin treatment and management in the Michigan area.