Winter skincare: 6 tips for managing winter flare-ups

Posted by Cedars Dermatology, 28th December 2018

The cold, dry air in winter can be troublesome for skin in general, causing flaky cheeks, sore, cracked hands and chapped lips. This can be even worse for people living with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Winter flare-ups are not uncommon for adults and children with chronic skin conditions and skin disorders – and it’s not just the cold air to blame, either. A number of factors at this time of year can aggravate skin symptoms or trigger eczema flare-ups.

The good news is, there are things you can do to help. Here are 6 winter skincare tips for managing flare-ups:

1: Boost your moisturising routine

Using suitable moisturisers and emollient creams and lotions can be an important part of managing conditions like eczema and psoriasis – and when the air is more cold and dry, you may need to adapt your routine. If spending a long time outdoors when it’s cold tends to trigger symptoms or make dry patches worse, consider applying extra moisturiser before you head outside, and afterwards too.

2: Be vigilant with beauty products

A long soak in the bath can be oh-so tempting in winter. And it’s party season, which might mean experimenting with some new make-up looks, hair styling products and perfumes. Chemicals in beauty and skin and haircare products can be a big trigger for skin flare-ups however, so be careful to avoid anything you’re likely to be sensitive to. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these things – just keep vigilant with checking ingredients and do some research into suitably gentle and hypoallergenic brands.

3: Don’t forget your hydration

Keeping well hydrated is super-important for keeping skin healthy from the inside. Remembering to drink plenty of water tends to be something we’re more aware of during summer, when the weather is warmer and we’re generally more physically active and outside more – but it’s important not to let those hydration targets drop during winter. Skin hydration isn’t just about what we put on our skin, it’s about what we put into our bodies too – so keep that water bottle topped up. Warming cups of tea count towards your daily hydration too, but go easy on the coffee as this has diuretic effects.

4: Keep warm by wearing layers

Yes, the cold air can aggravate sensitive skin – but overheating in winter can be troublesome for eczema and psoriasis symptoms too. It’s easy to think we need to wrap up in thick clothes, only to suddenly become too hot once we’re in a centrally-heated office/shop/train carriage, or rushing around. This can result in discomfort and itching, cue aggravated skin. Opt for layers to keep warm, so you can easily quickly remove some of your clothing if you feel yourself getting too warm.

5: Invest in a humidifier

Some people with skin conditions find dry air very aggravating. There’s often less moisture in the air in our homes during winter, especially if you have central heating and radiators, and may not open the windows so often. If this is triggering flare-ups or causing you to wake up with dry, sore, itchy skin, investing in a home humidifier might be a good idea.

6: Be mindful of seasonal stress

Keeping an eye on stress levels plays a very big part in managing any health conditions, and skin conditions are no exception. Stress can trigger flare-ups and make managing symptoms more challenging – and winter can be a surprisingly stressful time. There’s the hectic build-up and increased financial strain of Christmas; we might be burning the candle at both ends with all the extra social engagements, not to mention that many of us exercise less and spend less time out in nature during winter, so we’re missing out on all those positive stress-balancing endorphins. Nobody can banish stress entirely, but being mindful of it makes a big difference – so leave space in your diary for relaxing, try to keep active (even if it’s just a daily walk) and make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep.

For further information on skin health, see our information video channel. If you or your child is struggling with a skin condition, our expert dermatologists are here to help. Book a consultation today.

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