Eczema is a chronic skin condition that is commonly found in persons with allergies and asthma. Colder months can cause flare ups of eczema due to a number of factors. Use of heaters in the house, hot showers and the cold, dry climate can all cause the skin to dry out and flare up underlying eczema.
Even though eczema may not completely resolve in your lifetime, keeping your skin well-hydrated can help control flare ups and minimize daily symptoms. During bath time, avoid hot water showers/baths and opt for lukewarm water. Instead of rubbing yourself dry with a bath towel be sure to pat dry your skin after bathing. Apply a moisturizer as soon as you have pat dry your body so that your skin does not dry out, which can happen in a matter of minutes. Good moisturizers to use over-the-counter include Aquaphor and Eucerin. Using a moisturizer twice a day helps to keep your skin well hydrated and helps decrease flare ups.
For acute flare ups of eczema, a short term low-potency topical steroid can help decrease the inflammation on the skin. However, you want to limit the duration of topical steroids since side effects such as skin thinning and hypopigmentation may occur.
Other topical ointments that are non-steroidals can be used to help treat eczema but your primary doctor will most likely be referring you to a Dermatologist at this point. Be sure to mention to your doctor if there have been changes to your skin or if new symptoms like a painful rash occur. Other skin conditions such as herpes zoster, cellulitis, or impetigo may still occur to those that have chronic eczema. Don’t just assume that every rash on your skin is caused by eczema. Talk to your doctor today to learn more about how to best care for your body’s largest organ!