why does my eczema flare up in the summer
For those of us suffering from eczema, we understand very well that winter months can be the toughest time of year. The dry air, cold temperature, and low humidity make our skin susceptible to eczema breakouts and flares. Finally, we are in the full summer season. Theres a plenty of sunshine, high humidity and warm temperature. All weather conditions that is ideal for eczema. P
So, why am I still breaking out with eczema? Why are my itches more severe than those experienced during the winter months? P There are no clear explanations. However, the following mechanisms have been proposed: Hot weather makes everyone sweat more. Sweating is our natural defense mechanism to control the bodys temperature. Sweat consists of mostly water. As water evaporates from the skin surface, it provides a natural cooling sensation and also lowers the body temperature. In addition to water, there are trace amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, lactic acid, urea, copper, zinc, nickel, iron, chromium and lead in the sweat. Many of these chemicals, if presented at a high enough concentration, may be irritating to the skin. In high humidity, sweat cannot easily evaporate, which can lead to a gradual buildup of these chemicals on the skin. Edna Ferber, an American novelist, said: Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little. Excessively dry skin breaks down the skin barrier leading to flares of eczema. However, too much water exposure may be detrimental to eczema. It is not uncommon to see kids with large amounts of sweat accumulating in skin folds, such as the inner elbows and necks. The pooling of water and chemicals can lead to irritation and trigger eczema flares. External heat increases the body temperature. To cool off, the body dilates the blood vessels in the skin, which can attract inflammatory cells to the skin at a faster rate. Furthermore, heat also promotes the itch reflex, making the severity of the itch much worse. For that same reason, to suppress and control itch, patients are often advised to apply cold packs over the affected area.
There are two types of sweat glands in the body that help with the sweating process. These are eccrine and apocrine glands. There are occasions when the opening of these ducts become occluded, especially in hot weather. This can lead to miliaria, a type of rash that commonly occurs on the back and can be itchy. Aside from the weather, there are a number of activities we do only in the summer months that have the potential to worsen your skin. For example, swimming in a chlorinated pool can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. For one thing, chlorinated water can definitely dry out your skin. Also, to prevent skin cancer, premature aging, and sunburn, it is a good idea to use sunscreens. Because people with eczema have sensitive skin, some of the UV actives, such as avobenzone and oxybenzone, can lead to an allergic or photoallergic reaction. Photoallergy is defined as a skin reaction triggered by the combination of chemical and light exposure. What can you do to prevent flares of eczema during the summer months? Here are some useful tips: Maintain a cool and comfortable temperature indoors. The preferred temperature is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 18-degree Centigrade. Avoid outdoor activities from 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun is most intense. Also, it is usually the hottest time of the day. Drink plenty of cold water; stay cool under shade. Wipe away any accumulation of sweat with gentle paper wipes or a towel. This prevents pooling of excess sweat, especially in the skin fold, such as the inner elbows and neck. Also, it clears off any chemicals deposited on the skin. Consider using physical sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for UV protection. P Wash thoroughly with gentle soap and water immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Remember to apply moisturizer over the whole body immediately after showering. For the problematic area, such as especially dry and itchy skin area, you can apply Dr. Wang'sP P-Total Relief Skin Moisturizer. It is designed especially to break the itchy-scratch cycle and provide long lasting comfort relief.
Do you suffer from eczema during the hot summer months? Or, this is your time of reprieve and solace? Let us know. Also, if you have any other good tips on how to prevent eczema flares, please share them as well. You may find that youБre more prone to getting an eczema rash during the summer months Б and in places where you canБt cover it up, like eczema on the face. And to complicate matters, having on very visible body parts revealed by summery clothes can make the season a more emotionally upsetting time for you Б another reason why tailoring your eczema treatment to summer months is so important. Heat. Hot weather can make eczema rash itch more fiercely. Humidity also makes eczema harder to control. Perspiration. This cooling physical response, which results from being overheated, can add to your skin troubles by drying you out. Also, clothing damp from sweat or humidity can rub and irritate the skin. Seasonal allergies. Hay fever and other pollen allergies may be a for you. Irritating skin products. Summer months may expose you to a host of irritating ingredients in sunscreens and insect repellants if you donБt choose carefully. On the other hand, summer can be a good time for eczematous skin, especially if you take precautions, maintain your eczema treatment, and go to the beach. Yes, eczema is a great excuse for a seaside vacation. БPeople will say, БWhen I went to the ocean, my skin cleared up. Б Think about [the benefits] Б moisture, sunlight, lack of stress,Б explains certified dermatology nurse practitioner Pamela Fletcher, CNP, with the department of dermatology at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. There is even some science behind this observation. Phototherapy Б the use of controlled doses of UVB light Б is a recommended treatment for eczema, which explains why sunlight can be helpful to eczema-prone skin, although, adds Fletcher, this is not an excuse to get sunburned or risk. How to Adjust Your Eczema Treatment Plan Moisturize daily.
Just because humidity is at its peak does not mean you can skip your moisturizer. Eczema is due to problems with your skinБs moisture barrier, not the amount of moisture in the air. You might, however, be able to switch to a less greasy formula. Control your climate. When you are indoors, keep your house and office cool if possible. Try using a fan if air conditioning isnБt available. Also, keep humidity to about 50 percent. Choose a hypoallergenic sunscreen. Even though sunlight might help eczema, you should wear sunscreen most of the time youБre outdoors. To avoid irritating your skin, pick products that are labeled hypoallergenic. Always avoid added perfumes, dyes, and alcohols. Avoid antibacterial skin products. You may be tempted to use them when youБre out and about with family and friends, but steer clear, says Fletcher: БThey kill off the very weak bacteria, which makes more room for other bacteria and fungi to grow,Б she says. БThe billions of bacteria that are normally on our skin actually help maintain the health of our skin. Б Opt for a moisturizing soap to wash off dirt and germs. Dress to be cool. Choose loose cotton clothing in soft fabrics. Your summer style should keep you cool and avoid irritating your skin. Rinse off when needed. Summer activities can expose you to pollen, sweat, salt, sand, and chlorine. While many of these will not trigger an eczema rash, itБs a good idea to rinse them off promptly, says Fletcher. Take advantage of any outdoor showers at the beach and the pool. Cool water rinses and compresses are also a relief to irritated skin. Manage allergies. If you have seasonal, start taking your antihistamines just before the season begins. That way your body will be prepared for the onslaught. Enjoy summer, but donБt take a vacation from your eczema treatment program. Even a small rash, if left untreated, can lead to complications, including infection. YouБll enjoy the long lazy days much more if you arenБt worrying about an irritated eczema rash.
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