5 Tips for Controlling Eczema Flare-Ups from Summer Heat and Humidity

If you’re one of the 31 million Americans living with eczema, you know all too well how the summer can spell trouble for your skin. A number of factors, including humidity, increased temperatures and perspiration, can take a toll on your skin and trigger an eczema flare-up. Even a small rash, if left untreated can cause complications. That’s why it’s necessary to be vigilant during the summer months.

Why does eczema flare in the summer?

While most people look forward to the sunshine of summer, people with eczema dread what the warmth of the sun will bring. Why? Because the hot weather can cause flares. The hot, humid air easily irritates the skin of people with eczema. Additionally, sweating, a normally harmless natural function to keep cool, can also contribute to eczema flares. Here are five things to take into consideration during the summer, so you can create an action plan to control your eczema and reduce the chances of having a flare.

1. Stay hydrated

It’s easy to get dehydrated in the summer heat. When temperatures climb, you’re more likely to reach for cold soda, fruit juices, cocktails and frozen drinks as a refreshment. Unfortunately, these drinks only dehydrate you further.

Hydration is vital for your skin, especially if you have eczema. People with eczema tend to have dry skin, making hydration an essential part of keeping flare-ups at bay. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times and avoid overindulging in sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol.

2. Stay Dry

While you’re staying hydrated on the inside, keeping your skin dry can help you enjoy the summer without triggering an eczema flare. Perspiration is made up of mostly sodium, water, and minerals. When you sweat, not only do you lose fluids, drying out your skin, but the substances in sweat can irritate your skin. The buildup of trace minerals in sweat, such as zinc, copper, and iron, are common flare triggers for people with eczema.

You may have noticed that the areas of your body that most often accumulate moisture, like the insides of the elbows and the back of the knees, are common spots for eczema flares. It’s a good idea to keep a towel on hand on hot days. Wipe your skin dry if you start to perspire. It’s important that you avoid allowing sweat to accumulate and sit on the skin. Keeping your skin dry will go a long way toward preventing flare-ups when summer temperatures increase.

3. Use moisturizer

In people with eczema, the outer layer of skin is damaged, making it more sensitive to irritants and harder to retain moisture, leading to dry, itchy, irritated skin. Keeping your skin’s moisture intact is perhaps one of the most vital ways to control eczema flares in the summer.

Moisturizers help protect the outer layer of your skin, helping to keep moisture in. Your provider can prescribe a clinical-grade moisturizer designed specifically for sensitive skin to help keep your skin from drying out during the summer months.

4. Keep skin cool

Temperatures that are hot and dry make it harder for your skin to stay moist on its own. The outdoor heat dries out your skin and paves the way for an itchy flare-up. Keeping your skin cool in the summer is a priority. You may need to avoid going outdoors on particularly hot days to prevent inflammation and irritation.

One idea is to store your moisturizers in the refrigerator so they’re cool when you apply them. Keeping a cool compress on hand to quickly cool down your skin when the heat soars is another option.

5. Avoid tight clothing

Tight clothing and summer heat is a recipe for an eczema flare-up. Snug-fitting clothing can irritate your skin and increase your temperature, setting the foundation for your sensitive skin to become inflamed. During the summer, wear loose, breathable fabrics to avoid kicking off any eczema issues.

Dr. Henry and his team at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center help patients manage eczema and control flare-ups during seasonal shifts. If you need comprehensive eczema care, call one of the offices in Fayetteville or Bentonville, Arkansas to request an appointment, or book one online at your convenience.

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