The glorious days of summer are upon us!
Lazy days at the pool or beach, the simple pleasures of backyard Braais, outdoor gatherings, and longer hours of daylight are ready to be savored.
But for those of us suffering from eczema, we know well that winter months can be the toughest time of year. The dry air, cold temperature, and low humidity make our skin susceptible to eczema breakouts and flares.
But we are in the full into summer and there’s plenty of sunshine, high humidity and hot temperatures… So, why am I still breaking out with eczema? Why are my itches more severe than those experienced during the winter months?
There are no clear explanations. However, the following mechanisms have been proposed:
Sweat Triggers Eczema
Hot weather makes everyone sweat more. Sweating is our natural defence mechanism to control the body’s temperature. Sweat consists of mostly water. As water evaporates from the skin surface, it provides a natural cooling sensation and also lowers the body temperature.
In addition to water, there are trace amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, lactic acid, urea, copper, zinc, nickel, iron, chromium and lead in the sweat. Many of these chemicals, if presented at a high enough concentration, may be irritating to the skin. In high humidity, sweat cannot easily evaporate, which can lead to gradual build-up of these chemicals on the skin.
Excess Water Leads to Itchy Rash
Edna Ferber, an American novelist, said “Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” Excessively dry skin breaks down the skin barrier leading to flares of eczema. However, too much water exposure may be detrimental to eczema.
It is not uncommon to see kids with large amounts of sweat accumulating in skin folds, such as the inner elbows and necks. The pooling of water and chemicals can lead to irritation and trigger eczema flares.
Heat Worsens Itch
External heat increases the body temperature. To cool off, the body dilates the blood vessels in the skin, which can attract inflammatory cells to the skin at a faster rate. Furthermore, heat also promotes the itch reflex, making the severity of the itch much worse. For that same reason, to suppress and control itch, patients are often advised to apply cold packs over the affected area.
Blockage of Sweat Glands
There are two types of sweat glands in the body that help with the sweating process. These are eccrine and apocrine glands. There are occasions when the opening of these ducts become occluded, especially in hot weather. This can lead to Miliaria, a type of rash that commonly occurs on the back and can be itchy. All weather conditions that is ideal for eczema.
What can you do to prevent flares of eczema during the summer months? I’m going to share with you some of my best secrets for beautiful summer skin.
No matter how hot the African Sun Gets!
- Maintain a cool and comfortable temperature indoors. The preferred temperature is about 18 degree Centigrade.
- Avoid outdoor activities from 10am to 2pm, when the sun is most intense. Also, it is usually the hottest time of the day.
- Drink plenty of H2O. Drinking plenty of water is another hot button with me, as you probably know. Hydration is critical not only to keep your skin glowing and radiant but also to prevent headaches and dizzy spells. The hotter the weather, the more hydration your body craves. Keep a water bottle handy during the day and replenish often!
- Wipe away any accumulation of sweat with gentle paper wipes or a towel. This prevents pooling of excess sweat, especially in skin fold, such as the inner elbows and neck. Also, it clears off any chemicals deposited on the skin.
- Use care with products that increase sun sensitivity. Some products, including many medications, can make your skin more sun sensitive. Retinoids, for example, increase the sun’s effects on your skin and make you much more prone to burning. When you’re spending more time outdoors, in the sun, save the use of products such as retinoids for night-time use, and be sure you use a powerful SPF sunscreen like Xeroderm SPF 40 Sunscreen to protect your lovely skin during the day.
Ask your skincare professional or doctor if any of your products or medications tend to increase the sun’s effects, and then adjust accordingly.
6. Wash thoroughly with Epiwash Cleansing Bars and water immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Remember to apply moisturizer over the whole body immediately after showering. For problematic area, such as especially dry and itchy skin area, you can apply Epizones – Epizone Plus Hydrating Cream.
- Eat right!
Owner of a Delhi-based salon, says that for a flawless and healthy skin in summers, avoid eating junk food. It not only creates deficiency of nutrients, but also leads to toxins in the body. Instead, eat food rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A rich vegetables like carrots, spinach and so on help slow oil production. Go easy on the alcohol, spicy and fried food as they all dilate blood vessels and compound your oily skin woes. If you are tempted, limit yourself to one drink a night, and eat spicy foods no more than once a week.
- Make up?
People who have acne are often advised to avoid using makeup, as some ingredients can clog pores and encourage further outbreaks. But in the case of eczema, certain types of makeup can actually help improve the condition.
So yes, you can wear makeup over eczema. While makeup in general won’t make your eczema worse (unless you’re allergic to a particular ingredient), certain products work best to alleviate chronic dryness and inflammation.
In summer go for mineral make up. It lasts longer in humid conditions. Also use lighter tones in summer. Wear lip balm having at least 15 SPF before getting out.
Using the above tips for beautiful skin in summer season you can maintain the freshness of your skin in sunny season too. Don’t get panic and pay a little attention and care towards your skin. Drink a lot of water, avoid lots of exposure to sun and follow the above summer beauty tips.