Here Comes the Sun! Is Your Eczema-Prone Skin Ready?
- Posted on: Jun 15 2020
Most people look forward to the warmer weather once it finally rolls around. Usually, summertime allows us to get outdoors and soak up some of that beautiful sunshine that helps us produce vitamin D. For the person with eczema, soaking up the sunshine is something they may both love and dread. As the temperature climbs, so may redness, itching, and persistent discomfort. Here, we discuss why summertime can be difficult for those with eczema and what can be done to decrease the risks of flare-ups.
Managing Summertime Eczema Flare-Ups
It’s difficult to know how to manage eczema flare-ups if you’re not sure what triggers red, inflamed skin. Unfortunately, a person’s own sweat is often the culprit. We think of our sweat as just excess water leaving the body. It’s not. Sweat has small amounts of nickel, copper, cadmium, lead, manganese, chloride, iron, zinc, and salt. Although there are trace amounts of each of these in sweat, a cumulative effect occurs when they build up on the epidermis. The fact that sweat is often to blame for eczema flare-ups is the reason we see inflammation in areas where moisture gets trapped; areas like the elbow creases and the backs of the knees.
There is no way to not sweat. We have to sweat! It’s healthy! Still, there are ways to minimize summertime eczema flare-ups.
- Plan outdoor activities during non-peak hours when possible. Between 10 am and 2 pm, the sun is especially strong. This is often the hottest part of the day. Planning around that can reduce instances of heat exposure and excessive sweating.
- Stay well-hydrated. When we drink water, our body temperature stays cooler. This can be an especially savvy trick to use during those outdoor activities.
- Use mineral sunscreens, not chemical sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens contain fewer chemicals, if any, and are much less likely to irritate the skin. Chemical sunscreens create a reaction in the skin and may lead to inflammation and itching.
- If you swim, rinse. This needs to happen whether swimming occurs in chlorinated pool water or saltwater. Either can cause inflammation and irritation in eczema-prone skin. If there is no shower available, use a bottle of water to rinse salt and chemicals off the skin.
- Moisturize with ceramides. Lotions like CeraVe contain ceramides, which help to replenish the skin’s natural barrier against dehydration.
Posted in: Medical Dermatology