Weather affects everyone. There may be droughts, rainstorms, high humidity, snowy conditions, windy days, or lovely sunshine— weather hits everyone. But for people with eczema, weather can set off a flare of redness, itchiness, scaling, and flaking. For those with eczema-prone skin, it’s important to factor the weather into your plans on any given day.
With climate change, we can expect more extreme weather in the coming years. Heatwaves or extreme cold waves will occur more often, as can excessive rain, and extremely windy conditions. We are already starting to see these types of events and experts say they will become only more frequent.
Difficulty with weather varies for people with eczema because there are seven different types of eczema. Some types are not as affected by the weather as others. Some people with eczema have no problem with a hot, humid summer while others sweat through it in misery. Most people with eczema may have issues with very dry weather, either in winter or because of dry air conditioning in any season.
Why does weather affect eczema-prone skin differently?
Why does your skin react badly to weather? It does this because eczema-prone skin reacts poorly in general. Eczema is one form of an overactive immune system. Something triggers the immune system which causes the skin to become sensitive and inflamed. Weather—heat, humidity, wind, cold—can be one of the triggers for many people.
Normally, your skin is a barrier that helps protect the rest of your body from the elements. One of its functions is to keep the body from losing too much moisture. With some types of eczema, that barrier becomes damaged, and your skin dries out more quickly than normal skin. This dryness means that it becomes irritated more easily. Dry air and windy conditions exacerbate this dryness.
Learn Your Triggers
Since controlling the weather is not something the human race can do as yet, you have to learn to live with whatever the weather throws your way. So, learn what conditions make your eczema act up. Does wind make your skin redder, itchier, or scalier? Do heat and humidity give you a rash? Find out what types of weather problems bother you and in what ways so that you can be prepared.
Let’s take a look at the types of weather that can affect your eczema.
Heat and Humidity
Summertime can mean that living is not easy for people with eczema. During hot weather, the human body is supposed to sweat. Sweating is one way that the body regulates its temperature. But sweating can make your eczema worse.
During periods of high humidity, you sweat the same amount that you do in dry weather. But in dry weather, sweat evaporates quickly and doesn’t linger on your skin. When the humidity is high, however, sweat doesn’t evaporate and it collects on your skin. The sweat itself may irritate your skin since it is salty and contains minerals like zinc, copper, and iron that can build up on your skin.
Sweat also collects in certain areas of your body like your armpits, the insides of your elbows, around your neck and waist, and behind your knees. Moisture can be trapped in these places and start to irritate your skin. These are often the areas where eczema commonly appears. A moist environment also forms an ideal environment for bacterial or fungal infections, which can be another irritation to the skin.
Managing Eczema in Warm Weather
In hot, humid weather, try to avoid sweating. If you can only exercise outdoors, do it in the cooler parts of the day like early in the morning, at dusk, or even after dark if it is safe. When you exercise, wear loose clothing that is breathable so that your sweat evaporates as much as possible. Tight-fitting clothing can trap sweat against your skin. You might also take along an absorbent towel when you exercise so that you can wipe off sweat.
Swimming can be a good choice for exercise when it is hot but be aware that chlorinated water in a pool or the saltwater of the ocean can affect your eczema.
Keep an eye on how much time you spend in the sun, too, since sunburn can set off an eczema flare. This is another reason to avoid exercising in the hottest time of the day when the sun is high. If you are in the sun, use a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Choose a sunscreen that is made for sensitive skin.
Drink plenty of cool water. Drinking water helps your body regulate its temperature and it also helps you avoid becoming dehydrated when you sweat a lot.
After you exercise, especially if you have been swimming, take a warm (not hot!) shower. Use a gentle, preservative-free cleanser like Gladskin Body Wash, which is made for sensitive skin, eczema-prone skin.
Cold, Dry Weather
Cold weather tends to be dry weather. Dry air makes your skin dry out faster which can exacerbate your eczema. Wind also dries your skin out faster.
As with hot weather, drinking plenty of water is important. If you are losing water from your skin to the air, you need to replenish your supply.
If the air in your home is very dry, use a humidifier. Make sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent a buildup of mold, which is not good for your lungs, and which can irritate your skin.
Dress for the weather. When you are outside, wear gloves and a hat that covers your ears. Avoid any fabrics that can irritate your skin, such as wool or anything with a rough texture. Choose gloves that have a soft lining that is nonirritating.
Whatever the season and whatever the weather, use a moisturizer daily. Make sure to apply some to your skin before you go out and renew it during the day. Gladskin Eczema Cream with Micreobalance® not only treats eczema flares by restoring balance to your skin microbiome while moisturizing but is also a skin protectant that can help keep your skin healthy during winter or summer. And because Gladskin Eczema Cream is steroid-free, you can use it as often as you like, for as long as you like.