Help! My Eczema Gets Worse in Summer — What Should I Do?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had the worst eczema flare-ups during the summer. Between the combination of excess sun exposure and chlorine in swimming pools, my eczema does not do well during these months. To get to the bottom of why this happens and how to address it, I consulted with board-certified dermatologist Nava Greenfield, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Why Does My Eczema Get Worse in Summer?
According to Dr. Greenfield, it’s very common for eczema to flare up during the summer. “Sun exposure can cause dry, tiny cracks on the surface layer of the epidermis — and those cracks compromise the skin’s ability to protect itself from disease development,” she says. Additionally, flare-ups in summer can also be caused by a mix of contact dermatitis from various products you apply in the summer months, and that dermatitis can exacerbate underlying eczema.
How to Take Care of Eczema Flare-Ups in Summer
It’s important to use an eczema-friendly sunscreen, because sunburns cause further disruption to the skin barrier. According to the National Eczema Association, unscented, alcohol-free mineral suncreens can be good options. “It’s also helpful to avoid excessive sun exposure or subjecting yourself to intense heat for a substantial amount of time,” says Dr. Greenfield.
In addition, moisturizing is key when the temperatures rise, because heat dries out the skin. Our recommendations: try using a hydrating moisture cream formulated for eczema-prone skin, such as CeraVe Eczema Creamy Oil, which is made with colloidal oatmeal, and hyaluronic acid to moisturize eczema-prone skin and help relieve itching. It may also be helpful to use a body wash for sensitive or eczema-prone skin, like CeraVe Soothing Body Wash, which is accepted by the National Eczema Association, or Honest Soothing Therapy Body Wash with Colloidal Oatmeal.
“If moisturizing is not helping to soothe and calm eczema-prone skin and you find yourself scratching, you may need to visit your dermatologist for a prescription,” Dr. Greenfield adds. There, they can proceed with patch testing to help figure out what is causing your flare-ups, as it might be caused by an ingredient you don’t realize you’re sensitive to.
“There are so many new and safe treatments to address eczema,” says Dr. Greenfield. “So don’t let yourself stay uncomfortable — seek care from a board-certified dermatologist if it persists.”
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn