All hot and bothered. And itchy. For people with eczema, summer doesn’t just mean beautiful beach spent weekends, it also means finding ways to manage the most common trigger for eczema, heat.
How can warm weather trigger eczema?
Warm skin is itchy skin. Heat at the skin’s surface feels prickly can our response is to scratch. People with eczema tend to hold heat at the skin’s surface for longer, which means warmer and itchier and skin.
Sweat also plays a part in triggering eczema flare-ups. During warm weather, we sweat to try and regulate our body temperature. Sweat is made up mostly of water. When water sits on the skin it causes evaporation on the skin’s surface which takes away hydration from the skin. The makes the skin dry and itchier. Sweat also contains trace amounts of chemicals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron, which may be irritating to the skin. In high humidity, sweat doesn’t evaporate easily which can lead to a build-up of these chemicals, causing itching and irritation.
Five tips for lessening the eczema itch:
1. Drink plenty of water
Making sure you are drinking plenty of water will help to keep the body’s core temperature from rising, stopping the skin from getting warm. Ice blocks are another great way to increase fluid intake and also cool down the body down.
2. Eat hydrating foods
The food we eat also makes a big contribution to keeping the body well hydrated and cool. Choose to eat foods which have a high water content, such as cucumbers, apples, celery, carrots, watermelon and pears can help keep their skin cool.
3. Use a cold compress
Applying a cool compress to the skin or coming home and putting on a dampened singlet will immediately start taking the heat out of the skin and the edge off itching after a hot day out. Apply the wet compress for a few minutes, or until you can feel it warming up and then repeat until the skin cools down. When you have finished, moisturise the skin to stop hydration leaving the skin.
3. Plan what you’re wearing
Choosing to wear cotton, breathable clothing will let the heat escape from the skin’s surface. Synthetic fabrics can trap heat around the body increasing the skin’s temperature, making it very itchy.
4. Sleep cool and with cotton
Hot nights can be sleepless nights, add the intense need to itch and sleep deprivation can quickly creep up on us. Choose cotton bed sheets and cotton sleepwear. If you a room in the house which is cooler than the rest, make this your makeshift bedroom until the hot days come to an end.