As temperatures drop and we start to bundle up, it's important to care for your skin as well.
Even people with normal skin types can find it difficult to keep skin hydrated during the colder seasons, but if you have eczema-prone skin, finding products that soothe and moisturize your sensitive skin can be especially tough.
Those who have had eczema before know how difficult it is to heal your skin and form a routine when many products out there are not suited for eczema-prone skin.
Since November is National Healthy Skin Month, I wanted to get more insight into caring for eczema skin in the winter when the weather is harsher. I got in touch with Dr. Malika Ladha, a double board-certified dermatologist based in Toronto who shared some great advice on how to take care of eczema this season.
What is eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that can cause itchiness, dryness, rashes, and blisters, to list a few symptoms.
Although there are seven types of eczema, the most common form is atopic dermatitis, where the skin's barrier becomes dry and itchy.
Expert tips for eczema-prone skin
For anyone looking to to soothe symptoms such as itchiness and dryness of the skin, keep reading for Ladha's top tips.
1. Transition your skincare routine as the weather changes
Ladha's advice for a winter-specific routine includes using a thicker moisturizer, moisturizing frequently, use products with moisture-retaining ingredients, and avoid excessive exfoliation.
"As fall winds down, consider transitioning from light lotions and gels to creams and ointments," she suggests.
Try looking for moisturizers with ceramides too, as "products with ceramides can boost our skin’s lipid barrier, which is compromised in eczema skin. These ingredients prevent further water loss and subsequent irritation."
2. Avoid hot showers
"While long, hot showers can be relaxing, especially when it’s snowing outside, the process strips the natural oils from our skin, causing it to dry out further," stated Ladha. "Those with eczema should shower for fewer than five minutes, using lukewarm water."
3. Keep skin dry
While many people enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or other outdoor winter activities, people with eczema-prone skin should be cautious of wet clothing.
"Remove any wet clothing as soon as you are indoors [as] dampness can cause irritation," said Ladha.
4. Sleep with a humidifier
Dry winter air isn't just an outdoor problem — it's something to be mindful of indoors too.
"The colder and drier environment of winter, along with increasing the heat indoors, can dry out the skin and cause further irritation," Ladha noted. "This external irritation can be reduced with a humidifier."
5. Avoid irritating fabrics
Be cautious of certain fabrics such as wool and mohair, which can cause further itchiness and irritation.
"Seek out non-irritating fabrics such as cotton or silk. And if your favourite holiday sweater has wool or mohair, wear a cotton layer as a barrier of protection between your skin and the clothing," says Ladha.
If you have eczema-prone or sensitive skin, scroll through for a list of soothing products that are approved by the National Eczema Association.
CeraVe's cult-classic moisturizer is lightweight and formulated with three essential ceramides to restore and protect skin's barrier.
Burt's Bees sensitive face cleanser was awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. It moisturizes skin without causing redness or irritation, and it's fragrance-free and hypoallergenic — which is perfect for eczema-prone skin.
La Roche-Posay's moisturizing body wash is ideal for very dry, eczema-prone skin. It's ultra-gentle with ingredients like nourishing shea butter and soothing niacinamide.
Biossance's multitasking sugarcane-derived squalane oil can be used on the face, body, and hair. It's lightweight and reduces redness, while hydrating the skin.
Vichy's fast-absorbing hyaluronic acid serum moisturizer plumps and hydrates the skin. Formulated with mineral-rich volcanic water, it is suitable for sensitive skin too.
Skinfix's Eczema Kit includes a hand repair cream, body wash, body balm and face balm. Each product is meant for dry, sensitive, eczema-prone skin and leaves skin feeling moisturized, soothed and protected.