During winter, eczema is one of those conditions — like the cold and flu — that you just keep hearing about. Learn more about the cause of eczema, why it can be worse in the winter, and how you can treat it.
What Is Eczema?
Eczema is a group of conditions that cause irritated skin, itchiness, dry skin, and rashes. According to the National Eczema Association, 31 million Americans of all ages have eczema.
On lighter skin tones, it can present as red and inflamed areas, and on darker skin tones, it can appear as brown or purple inflamed areas. Those affected feel itchiness, heat on the skin, dryness, flaking, and other uncomfortable effects. Without treatment or intervention, it can last for weeks, months, or indefinitely.
Unlike other rashes, eczema is not contagious, and it can develop at any age — from infancy to adulthood. It’s a pre-existing condition that can flare up due to a variety of things like using new products with fragrances, fabrics, and even cold, dry air.
Why Can Eczema Be Worse in the Winter?
The cold air in winter dries out the skin — that’s why you may notice yourself adding more and more lotion to your skincare routine in the winter months. For those with eczema, this added dryness causes the perfect condition for eczema to flare up.
Ways to Treat Eczema
A clinician can help you manage your symptoms with creams and other medications, as well as educating you on things to avoid. If it’s severe, they may recommend a specialist to help control symptoms.
One common form of eczema is called Atopic Dermatitis, which is an allergic condition. This type of eczema causes a flare after being exposed to something you’re allergic to — whether it be an ingredient in a lotion applied to the skin, a scent from a candle you inhale, or even a food you eat. Instead of or along with well-known allergy symptoms, the body reacts with a rash on the skin.
If your clinician thinks it’s allergy-related, they may recommend allergy testing to find the cause, and then recommend treatment. Beyond avoiding the things that cause flare ups, the only treatment that gets to the cause of atopic dermatitis symptoms is immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy to Treat Eczema
Immunotherapy slowly and safely introduces the body to the allergens that cause symptoms until the body learns not to react over time. Allergychoices advocates for sublingual immunotherapy, which is a liquid dose of antigens taken under the tongue — three doses daily that you can safely take yourself at home. It’s made custom for each patient and treats all offending allergens at once — at their specific level of sensitivity.
Over time, the goal is for the body to stop reacting to allergens, and eczema symptoms are reduced — and often eliminated.
If you’re ready to treat the cause of your atopic dermatitis and allergy, find a clinician near you that reports offering diagnosis and treatment following The La Crosse Method™ Protocol.