Combat eczema irritants this National Eczema Week with these top tips from Surcare and Harley Street Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Adam Friedmann.
With an estimated 15 million* people in the UK suspected to have eczema, the cold winter months can bring a whole host of hurdles to overcome. From synthetic woolly jumpers to central heating known to irritate your skin, it can be difficult to control flare-ups, especially if you’re unsure of where these triggers lie.
To help eczema sufferers this National Eczema Awareness Week (September 16th – 24th), we’ve teamed up with Dr. Friedmann to help identify some of the most common eczema irritants, some of which you know, and some of which may surprise you.
The cold winter months might make it tempting to turn up the heat when it comes to bathing, showering and hand-washing, but try to refrain from doing this, since the mixture of hot water and cold temperatures can leave your skin feeling raw and exposed. Aim to bathe in lukewarm water to keep the temperature differences to a minimum. When drying your skin, pat until dry with a soft towel (rather than rubbing) and moisturise immediately, as this will help keep skin moist and reduce the chances of triggering an eczema flare-up.
One of the most common eczema irritants is central heating, which affects our skin in the same way that air conditioning does — by removing the air of any moisture that dries our skin out. These dry air environments which we surround ourselves in, particularly in winter, can increase the chances of a flare up. Try using a thick moisturiser every morning and evening to keep your skin nourished throughout the day, whilst also drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.
The cold weather often means we’re drawn to wearing thick woolly or fleece jumpers. However, synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon and rayon, which are commonly found in our clothing, can cause us to sweat more, which irritates eczema-prone skin. Try wearing clothes made from natural materials, which will allow the skin to breathe and decrease the likelihood of it becoming irritated.
When washing your clothes, think gentle. Our garments constantly come into contact with our skin and certain chemicals used in laundry detergents can contribute to eczema flare-ups. Try washing clothes with dermatologically-friendly washing powders, such as Surcare, which is free from unnecessary ingredients such as enzymes, dyes, acids or fragrances, and is much less likely to cause skin irritation.
Household cleaning products, including liquids and sprays, can irritate the skin, causing a type of eczema called irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). According to the National Eczema Society, people with a history of atopic eczema are more likely to have sensitive skin and are therefore more prone to ICD. Try gentler versions of cleaners, or wear gloves to minimise contact. Dust mites can also trigger eczema, so try damp dusting to get rid of the dust instead of just moving it around.
Winter colds and sniffles
The cold elements outside can leave many of us with a runny nose or even a winter cold, which often leaves us blowing or wiping our nose. This repetitive action can leave our skin feeling irritated and can trigger an eczema flare-up. Try using a greasier emollient when moisturising your face, to help protect your skin from nose blowing.
*Figure taken from AllergyUK.org