Eczema-prone skin: the influence of climate and the seasons on eczema flare-ups
Written in partnership with Dr. Clarence De BELILOVSKY, dermatologist & member of the Mustela experts' circle.
Climate and seasons: Do they have an influence on eczema-prone skin?
Climate can have an influence on your baby’s eczema-prone skin’s appearance and the occurrence of flare-ups.
To understand the extent, there is a simple observation to be made: eczema-prone skin particularly likes everything that can dry the skin, make it sweat or put it in contact with allergens (see our file on eczema-prone skin). The wind can contribute to eczema-prone skin due to its drying effect, but that doesn’t mean that a wet or temperate climate is its best friend, either, though a wet climate enables the skin to preserve its hydration, and a temperate climate keeps us not too hot.
Prevent eczema-prone skin flare-ups in every season
Each season has its advantages and drawbacks
• The strength of spring: its temperatures. Not too hot, not too cold, they are a delight. Unfortunately, it is also the pollen season and the time when you take care of your garden, especially mowing the grass. The smell of cut grass is certainly a real pleasure, but can be irritating to skin. Make sure to:
- Reduce outdoor activities for your child or minimise their duration to avoid extended contact with pollen if your child is sensitive to it.
- For the same reason, you should avoid hanging your child’s laundry outside to dry.
- You should choose trousers or long-sleeved t-shirts that protect your child’s legs and arms from potential irritants.
• In summer, the sun comes out – great news for the skin! Indeed, it has some beneficial effects on eczema-prone skin; this is due to the phototherapy principle: it has been found that eczema-prone skin is less frequent in regions where the UV index is higher. However, be careful of sunburns and heatstroke. You must make sure to:
- Always thoroughly protect your child’s skin with a baby/child-specific, fragrance-free, very-high protection sun lotion, with a high SPF, suitable for eczema-prone skin. We don’t think about it, but even in the city the face, arms and calves can be sun-exposed, so:
- Limit trips outdoors when the sun is at its height.
- Choose activities that don’t make your child sweat too much.1
- Apply his emollient treatment as often as necessary.
• Then comes autumn. It is the end of high heat and isn’t yet very cold, and pollen isn’t an issue. Nothing in particular needs to be pointed out: just enjoy this pleasant off-season!
• Winter is coming. Even if it is cold, it is a rather quiet season. And yet:
- The cold air: when it is harsh, it has the same drying effect as heat.
- By the way, in order to deal with the lowest temperatures outside, we tend to cover ourselves up too much, and end up sweating, which can create itching sensations!
Your child has to wear an anorak or jacket, of course, but you can also try to layer on some soft clothes (a vest, for example) to enable him to adapt to the temperature difference once he has arrived at the nursery or the nanny’s place (see What should be worn with an eczema-prone skin?).
- Dry air also contributes to dry skin, outside as well as inside, when the heater is too hot.
Winter in not the enemy, but it is the period that requires the most attention. However, your baby/child specific emollient care will always be an excellent defence for the skin.
Finally, you have to take into account the regions. Indeed, summer is rarely the same in the south and the north.
1 See Pool, sport, playing: which activities are OK for my eczema-prone child?