As the oncoming cold creeps closer and closer, you may find that your skin becomes drier and needs more hydration – especially if you have eczema. While dealing with this drying skin condition in the winter is uncomfortable to say the least, there are soothing eczema remedies you can implement to improve any redness, itchiness, and flaking.
Follow along as we outline the best eczema remedies for winter and everyday!
Why Does Eczema Get Worse in Winter?
Eczema causes red, inflamed, itchy skin. This inflammation compromises your skin barrier, preventing your skin from being able to hold onto as much moisture. This is an issue especially in wintertime, when the air grows drier.
In winter, we also tend to use more layers to hold onto heat, which will draw moisture out of your skin. The combination of these factors can aggravate already present symptoms or ignite dormant skin. Read on to discover steps you can take to calm and protect your skin in the winter!
Gentle Cleansing for Eczema
The first eczema remedies will involve altering your skin care. You might need to swap your cleansers and moisturizers in wintertime for gentler, more moisturizing products without fragrance.
Instead of using harsh body soaps or gels, use a product with gentle surfactants. These ingredients should protect your skin barrier while getting rid of dirt, grime, and dead skin cells. Cleansing agents that can irritate your skin include sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laurate, sodium cocoate, and sodium tallowate.
Foaming cleansers often use sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) – try a gently foaming cleanser instead! Gentler alternatives include cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, sodium cocoyl isethionate, alkyl sulfosuccinates, alkyl sarcosinates, and decyl glucoside.
A great gentle cleansing option for eczema is Puristry’s Nopal Cactus Cleanser. This low-foam, sulfate-free cleanser removes impurities from the skin with decyl glucoside while soothing with aloe, glycerin, and other nourishing oils. For a gentle, homemade cleanser, combine powdered colloidal oatmeal and water.
At the end of the day, you might consider a double cleanse. A cleansing oil effectively removes makeup and avoids stripping skin of the oils and fatty acids it needs for its barrier function. Combined with a gentle cleanser, your skin will feel clean but not tight.
Moisturizing Dry Skin and Eczema
Eczema-prone skin should use a thicker moisturizer for face and body multiple times a day. Since air can be drier than normal in winter, it’ll take a little more effort to ensure that your skin is properly hydrated.
Part of your daily care regimen in winter should involve using a natural moisturizer, made with humectants and occlusive agents. These ingredients should be near the top and middle of the ingredients list.
Humectants will bring moisture to the surface of your skin while occlusives prevent that moisture from leaving. Great humectants include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera gel, and panthenol.
Occlusives generally include butters (like shea and cocoa) and oils. One option is our Seaberry Moisturizer. This silky formula is made in a base of aloe, shea butter, coconut oil, and glycerin, all of which are beneficial eczema remedies.
Alternatively, you can use a moisturizer with lots of humectants and layer with pure shea butter, cocoa butter, or oils with high levels of oleic acid. Oils with oleic acids are generally richer, which is great for dry skin. Some options include coconut oil, seaberry oil, avocado oil, and marula oil. If you’re acne-prone, make sure to do a patch test — a breakout on dry skin will be trouble.
An in-shower or wet-skin moisturizer is a great option for the skin on your body. For in-shower moisturizers, apply and rinse off as you would with body gel. The hydration stays locked in even after you dry off. Wet-skin moisturizers don’t rinse off but work by absorbing into damp skin; before you pat yourself dry, use a wet-skin product to seal in the moisture from your shower.
PRO TIP: When you can, find anti-itch formulas!
Protecting Your Skin to Avoid Symptoms
You’ll often face varying temperatures in winter – the cold air from outside transitions to the toasty interior of your home, office, or car. Temperature changes can prompt that familiar itchiness from eczema, even if you were fine a moment before.
Your eczema remedies should include keeping the temperature inside your home stable, and limiting temperature changes when possible.
Another priority should be avoiding hot temperatures. Take warm showers and baths, and don’t sit next to radiators or fires.
Use humidifiers in your home, car, or office spaces. They add moisture to the air around you, which may prevent triggering eczema symptoms.
Homemade Eczema Remedies
More good news: outside of your skin care routine, there are supplemental steps you can take to subdue redness and inflammation.
In your DIY eczema remedies, use soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe vera gel, honey, colloidal oatmeal, and coconut oil. Use these eczema remedies on their own, or combine them to create a mask for your face and body!
A potent humectant, aloe vera can serve as a cooling mask for your face or body. Its soothing properties help relieve itchiness, preventing the cue to scratch your skin. If you buy a pre-packaged aloe formula, try to find one with 100% aloe vera that doesn’t rely on filler ingredients.
You might opt to buy aloe leaves (or a plant!) and apply the gel directly from the leaves. Don’t forget to drain any yellow liquid – this resin may prove irritating for skin. Some choose to peel and cut the leaves into smaller portions, then use a blender to liquify the gel. If you plan to store homemade aloe gel in your refrigerator, use a preservative like Vitamin E oil.
Honey is another water-loving ingredient that’ll draw moisture to your skin. Its wound healing properties help heal your skin, especially if your eczema has scabbed over or crusted. Combined with its antibacterial properties, honey helps protect these wounds from bacteria.
Colloidal oatmeal consists of finely ground, boiled oats. Research suggests that its phenol content contributes to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, suited to alleviate skin dryness, roughness, and itchiness.
While you can find colloidal oatmeal in lotions, some opt for a restorative bath. Buy pure colloidal oatmeal (in powder form) and add it to your bath water. As mentioned before, due to colloidal oatmeal’s saponin content, you can use this skin protectant as a cleanser — just add water.
After using a heavy-duty humectant, coconut oil is a great option for sealing in moisture. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties means it can help calm your skin and protect any wounds from bacteria. As mentioned before, if you’re acne-prone, do a patch test! If you can’t use this oil on your face, you can reserve it for body use.
If your skin requires extra care in the wintertime, never fear: these eczema remedies as often as you need relief. Incorporate these tips into your mornings, nights, and even lunchtimes to calm your symptoms and keep them at bay!