Eczema, or atopic dermatitis often occur more frequently or get worse in the winter. Dry air combined with indoor heating systems can dry out your skin. Eczema flares up because the skin can’t stay moist on its own. To relieve problems with eczema in the winter, try these tips:

1. Skip hot baths or showers

A hot bath or shower can feel so good during the winter, but it can strip the natural oils from your skin and causes it to dry out even more. Instead, shower for fewer than five minutes and use lukewarm water. Water with a high mineral content can dry out the skin and make eczema even worse because it leaves a residue on your skin.

2. Use a gentle soap

In the winter months, skin becomes more sensitive. This means that skincare products that do not usually irritate the skin can start to cause problems, such as contact dermatitis. Soaps and detergent can contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that may irritate sensitive skin. Switch to natural or unscented skincare products to reduce irritation. Try to avoid washing the hands, face, or body excessively during winter, as water can dry out skin by stripping away its natural, protective oils.

3. Try a good moisturizer

Moisturizing is an important part of skincare for eczema, and this is especially true during the winter months. Regular use of a good moisturizer, such as: Aveeno or CeraVe, could reduce the need for other topical prescription medicines. Moisturizers are best applied at least twice a day and within 3 minutes after a bath, shower, or swim.

4. Avoid contact with certain materials

If your eczema is flaring, irritating fabrics such as wool or mohair are not a helpful addition to the mix. Cold weather usually means additional layers, but clothes that are made of polyester and other synthetic fabrics can trigger winter eczema symptoms for people with sensitive skin. Check labels and look for fabrics like cotton, silk, and cashmere.

5. Use a humidifier

The air becomes much drier in winter, both inside and outside the house. This can cause skin irritation, leading to painful, cracked skin. In addition to moisturizing the skin regularly, use a humidifier inside the house to add moisture to the air. This can help to stop the skin from cracking and becoming irritated.

6. Eat eczema-friendly foods and drink more water

Studies have proven that certain foods like milk, nuts, shellfish and eggs can trigger flare-ups and worsen eczema symptoms. If you know or suspect that you are sensitive to certain foods, do your best to avoid them. One way to find out you may have a problem with certain foods is to get tested by an allergist. And, again, aim to drink enough water each day to prevent dehydration.

7. Take vitamin D supplements

Our skin naturally creates vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Because there is less sun during the winter, it becomes more difficult to get the vitamin D that our skin needs to repair itself. Vitamin D supplements can significantly improve the symptoms of eczema or atopic dermatitis. You can get a blood test to see what dose would be right for you.

If you’ve been struggling with eczema and can’t seem to find relief, it’s time to consult with Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCDSchedule an appointment by calling 330-425-7600 for an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan to help with eczema in the winter.

Eating certain foods won’t cause eczema, but it may trigger a flare-up if you already have the condition. Common food allergies like milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, wheat, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can cause flare-ups. There’s no one-size-fits-all eczema diet, though eating foods rich in antioxidants or following an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce symptoms.