It’s that time of year. Winter is on the way and for some of us that means itchy skin. You may feel like a horse on a hitching post some days, scratching your back against the wall to get relief. Winter eczema can really be something to contend with. So just what exactly is eczema? In short, it’s an inflamed skin condition. Symptoms include red, dry or inflamed skin which may crack or peel. And while it’s generally diagnosed during childhood, sometimes it doesn’t occur until they become adults.
When it does, the effects can be obtrusive and hinder daily life. Flare-ups occur simply because winter air (or in some parts of the country, fall air) is drier than normal. With that in mind, here are some tips and information to make your winter more bearable.
Eczema: An Overview
So what is eczema exactly? It’s a skin condition known by its medical name, “Atopic Dermatitis” it causes scaly, itchy, dry rashes on top of your skin. In fact, it can be so bothersome that you may have trouble sleeping. If you have eczema, you might experience the following:
- Extreme itching, particularly at night
- Red or brownish/gray scaly patches on your skin
- Very small bumps that leak fluid or scab over if disturbed
- Cracked, scaly, dry or thick skin
- Raw or very sensitive skin
Keep in mind, as we mentioned earlier, eczema usually occurs in children. Statistics show by age five, 1 out of every 10 children will receive an eczema diagnosis. Typically, they outgrow this by the time they are teens. However, about half of them will continue to experience eczema well into their adult years. Also, as stated before, it’s not uncommon to develop eczema as an adult for the first time.
So why the term “Atopic Dermatitis?” Well, the word “Atopic” refers to conditions that occur when an individual is overly sensitive to environmental allergens, like pollen. The word “Dermatitis” is descriptive of inflammatory skin. This is very different to other skin conditions we have covered.
And while half of all children with eczema are likely to get hay fever or develop asthma, there is no known cure. There are triggers though, and research suggests genetics could be a contributor.
Yet, the reason flare ups occur in the winter is due to one thing, cool dry air. This, in combination with your central heating system, creates a perfect recipe for drying out your skin. Essentially what happens is your skin is unable to stay moist by itself. Therefore, to keep your skin moist, think about contributing factors.
Treating Winter Eczema: Beat Back the Itch
Eczema flare ups could be caused by wearing too many clothes at once, using too many bed sheets or comforters, taking warm or hot baths. In addition, culprits could be infection, skin irritants, exposure to allergens like pet dander or dust, or stress. So what are you to do? Here are a few tips to help with your winter itch.
No Hot Baths
For starters, forget taking hot baths. This dries your skin out and only contributes further to the problem. The best remedy is to use slightly warm water and take showers or baths less frequently. Also, use some sort of moisturizing product while bathing. Finally, be sure to reduce bath time. Five to 10 minutes and no more. Then pat yourself instead of rubbing down with the tile. You may even want to use a cream or lotion afterwards to retain moisture in your skin.
Gentle Soap is Preferred
The second thing you can do is use a very gentle soap. In fact, if at all possible use a moisturizing soap. Find one that is for your fragrance, dies and alcohol. If possible, avoid bubble baths all together as they really have a tendency to draw your skin. And don’t forget your laundry. Use a skin sensitive detergent for your laundry to keep your clothes from sucking the moisture from your skin.
Also, be sure to moisturize your skin often and use an effective moisturizer. For instance, petroleum jelly is known to be a fantastic option versus creams or lotions. While those work, you might have to apply more frequently. Petroleum jelly acts as a barrier for your skin, ceiling and locking in moisture.
Finally, you might be prescribed a cream for your eczema. Typically, doctors will advise using some sort of cream containing hydrocortisone.You may hear it referred to as hydrocortisone acetate. Typically, you can find this over-the-counter and it may work. However, if it doesn’t your doctor may prescribe a stronger cream to keep the problem at bay.
IPS Compounding: Helping You Fight Winter Eczema
If so, we can fill that prescription for you. Simply contact one of our IPS compounding specialists to get started. Transferring your prescription is easy and logging one for the first time is as well. You suffered long enough with painful, itchy flareups.Let us help with your prescription and get you back on track to a pain free life. After all, just because this winter doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. We are IPS Compounding. We can help!