How to Avoid Eczema Flare Ups This Summer
Did you know that up to one in every five children suffers from eczema? An umbrella term for a group of dermatological conditions that cause skin to become inflamed and irritated, eczema always leaves those who experience it itchy and uncomfortable.
While some people with eczema will continue to be symptomatic for their entire lives, most children do grow out of it by the time they hit puberty. In the meantime, proper care and maintenance can control and eliminate the symptoms. Here are some tips for finding relief this summer and preventing your child’s eczema from flaring up.
Eczema flares up when skin becomes dry and flaky. The lack of moisture causes the skin to crack and inflame, which then gives bacteria and irritants a path in to create infections. With the summer heat, it’s important to remember that changes in temperature can contribute to skin drying out.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to keep yourself and your child moisturized. If you live in a dry environment, use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air when you’re asleep. Use moisturizing lotions after bathing, and use moisturizing oils in the water to lock in moisture and keep skin healthy and soft.
Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes
As the summer heat flares, it’s tempting to try to find relief from the sun as quickly as possible, but be careful when you move your child between temperature extremes. The cycle of going from heavy air conditioning to the blazing sun and back again without any transition dries and cracks the skin.
When cooling your home, do it slowly. Allow the space enough time to transition between hot and cold to protect your child’s skin.
You, Your Child, and the Sun
Remember, eczema isn’t a single disease, but in fact a term to describe a whole category of skin afflictions. Different weather conditions affect different people in different ways. Some people with eczema actually benefit a lot from time in the sun; the ultraviolet light provides relief for their symptoms.
For others, though, the sunlight can increase the irritation. If your child falls into this category, take extra vigilance to protect them in the sunlight. Dress them in light, but full-coverage clothing, and make sure to include a hat!
Watch the Clock
Proper skincare is always important when dealing with the sun, but applying sunscreen will only take you so far. When the sun is at its most intense in the summer, it’s better to avoid it all together and just stay inside.
If at all possible, try to schedule your child’s outdoor activities around when the sun is at its brightest. The hours of 10:00 am - 2:00 pm will see the sun at its zenith; if you can keep your child away from the sunlight during that time, you’ll reduce the chance of them getting sunburned and experiencing an eczema flare up.
Wear the Right Clothes
When your child has eczema, dressing them properly is about more than just choosing a cute outfit. Some clothing materials are far more skin-friendly than others.
In the middle of summer, you’re not likely to dress your child in wool, but similar coarse materials are naturally irritating and should be avoided. Stick to breathable materials, like cotton. If your child’s skin can breathe, you’ll reduce the amount of sweat that sticks to their clothes as they heat up, and thereby reduce the amount of bacteria in contact with their skin. Also be sure to keep them in comfortable, loose clothing. Tight clothing will rub against your child’s skin and inflame it.
Track--and Get Rid of--Sweat
It’s summer: sweat is going to happen. You can’t stop your child from sweating any more than you can stop the world from spinning. But sweat is full of bacteria and irritants, and the longer it stays in contact with skin, the more you risk an eczema flare up.
Sweating itself may be inevitable, but whether it contributes to eczema depends on how you deal with it. Sweat should be removed as soon as physical activityhas concluded, either by toweling off or by bathing. Keeping clean will make your child feel healthier and happier and keep their skin maintained with the right kind of moisture.
Avoid Irritating Scents
Heavily scented perfumes and cleaning products can actually do more harm than good. The best products for your child are neutral ones that get the job done without loading up on anything extra.
A great example is the Babo Botanicals Sensitive, Fragrance Free Baby Shampoo and Wash. Specifically designed for gentle use on young children with sensitive skin, the only scent in this shampoo and wash is that which comes from the natural products used in it.
Be especially sure to avoid irritating chemicals and other allergens. Always check the ingredients on a cleaning product before using it with your child.
Use the Right Products to Hit Eczema Fast
No matter how much you prepare, taking care of a child with eczema is a full time job. Using the right products for sensitive skin will help prevent eczema flare ups and relieve symptoms quickly if they do arise. Here are some great products to consider when building out your child’s skincare routine:
- Aveeno Eczema Itch Relief Balm - this balm relieves dry, itchy skin due to eczema without leaving a greasy feeling behind.
- Shea Moisture Baby Eczema Bar Soap - this bar soap moisturizes and repairs skin while soothing redness and irritation.
- MooGoo Eczema & Psoriasis Cream - a very popular cream designed to moisturize and keep skin supple.
- Babyganics Eczema Care Skin Protection Cream - this cream is perfect for infants, and should be massaged into the skin immediately following a bath.
- Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Flare-Up Treatment Body Creme - use this treatment both to protect your child’s skin against eczema as well as to relieve minor irritation in case of a flare up.
Eczema can be a real pain to deal with it, but with a fifth of all children experiencing it at some point in their early lives, at least know that you’re not alone. By following a few simple tips and using products specifically designed to target eczema and its symptoms, you and your child can have a fun, full, and comfortable summer.