In winter, will my child need different eczema skin care?

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Dry air, cold temperatures, and indoor heating can irritate your child’s skin, causing eczema to flare.

To reduce eczema flares in winter, dermatologists recommend making small changes to your child’s skin care. You can help your child feel more comfortable by doing the following at the first sign of winter:

Continue eczema skin care

  • Bathe your child (as often as your child’s dermatologist recommends) in warm NOT hot water.
  • Apply medicine as directed.
  • Apply moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing to all skin without eczema medicine.

Moisturize more often, using a thick cream or ointment

  • Apply moisturizer after every bath, shower, and hand washing. Apply moisturizer ONLY to skin that you have NOT just applied eczema medicine.
  • Moisturize before bed.
  • If your child’s skin is dry, consider using an ointment. It holds more water in the skin and reduces the risk of irritating the skin.

If your child’s skin feels especially dry in winter, ask your dermatologist if occlusion (applying medicine and then covering it with plastic or a bandage) is recommended. This technique can help very dry skin absorb moisturizer and medicine.

Dress for success

  • Dress your child in clothes made from natural, breathable fabrics like 100% cotton. Wool and synthetic fibers like acrylic and polyester can irritate the skin.
  • Avoid overheating by dressing your child in loose-fitting layers that you can easily remove if your child becomes too hot.

Make your home comfortable

  • Keep the home thermostat at a temperature that prevents your child from overheating.
  • Make sure your child is far enough away from radiators, heating vents, and fireplaces so that they don’t warm the skin.
  • Use a humidifier if the air feels dry.

Enjoy the outdoors in comfort

  • Dress for the weather, covering as much of your child’s skin as possible.
  • Make sure your child wears mittens or gloves. Mittens and gloves should be made of cotton or another natural fiber. If you cannot find these, use a cotton glove liner, which can help prevent sweaty hands and irritated skin.
  • Dress your child in layers.
  • Avoid overheating by taking a break, unzipping a jacket partially, or removing a layer of clothing.
  • Remove wet clothes and shoes immediately after coming in from the snow or rain.

Additional related content

Home remedies: What can relieve itchy eczema?
Quiz: Do you know how to use skin care to help heal eczema?
How can eczema triggers be managed at school?


Reference
Tofte, S. “Eczema skin care: Winter Solutions.” Live webcast presented January 29, 2014.All content controlled by the National Eczema Association.