Just like we switch out our wardrobes for the change of season, our skincare routine can also benefit from habits and products tailored to the weather. This is because shifts in the clothing we wear, and exposure to cold dry air outside and heating inside can dry out our skin and worsen chronic skin diseases like eczema.

“The primary culprit affecting skin in the winter is a lack of humidity,” explains Dr. Danielle Marcoux, a dermatologist. “While many of us blame the harsh weather, it actually has a lot to do with indoor conditions, which tend to be less than favorable for eczema-prone skin.”

With proper management, you can make it through this tough skin season without feeling winter’s bite. Try the following strategies to keep your skin healthy and strong.

Use a humidifier. This will add some moisture back into the air, helping your skin retain its own moisture and keeping eczema symptoms from worsening.

Turn down the heat. This is especially important before you turn in for the night. Higher temperatures contribute to drying out the air, while a cooler environment is less likely to aggravate the itch.

Moisturize daily. Applying products that are specially formulated for sensitive skin immediately after a bath or shower can help lock in moisture and replace natural oils lost from the winter elements. Aim for short, warm showers or baths; the hotter the water, the more your skin’s natural oils will be stripped away.

Stick to your medication. If you have a chronic or recurring skin condition, your family physician or dermatologist can recommend a treatment that is right for you or your child.

“Treating moderate to severe eczema in youngsters is a challenge,” says Quebec-based pediatric dermatologist, Dr. Danielle Marcoux . “The terrible scratching can lead to more skin damage and infection, and the itch can affect sleep and focus. While there is no cure for eczema, it can be managed effectively. I recommend avoiding triggers and moisturizing the skin several times daily. Among available treatments is tacrolimus ointment; a topical non-steroid prescription medication. Tacrolimus can be used where topical steroids aren’t appropriate, and to give a patient’s skin a “holiday” from steroids.” Tacrolimus can also be used between “flare ups” to prolong disease-free periods.”

For more information speak to your dermatologist and visit www.eczemacanada.ca.