This has been a tough winter for those who, like me, suffer from sensitive skin. There are loads of reasons that these issues become heightened when it gets to the colder months. With temperatures often dropping below freezing and much more time spent inside, the sudden changes from the cold outdoors to heated homes can cause dryness and flare-ups. Paired with incessant hand washing and sanitiser – thank you COVID – my paws have never been in a worse state. This may even be the first year some have experienced dry and sensitive skin, but as a veteran eczema sufferer, here are my tips and tricks for managing these concerns in the coming months.
Swap your hand soap
Obviously we’re all washing our hands a lot at the moment, and there’s no excuse not to, even if it does make them dry and irritated. The best solution to stay hygienic without aggravating the skin is an antimicrobial emollient with no perfumes that moisturises while it cleans. I use Dermol and it’s great for avoiding reactions to scented soaps. They also have larger bottles that can be used as a soap substitute in the shower.
Sudden changes in temperature are one of the worst things for sensitive skin. Although it may be tempting to come home after a long wintery walk and stick your hands on the radiator or hop straight into a scorching bath, the skin doesn’t like this. Take measures so you’re exposed to extreme cold and try and keep showers and baths to a moderate heat to avoid upsets.
Accept the grease
As annoying as it may be, the best treatments for sensitive and eczema-prone skin involve a little oiliness. The products that seal in moisture and protect itchy and dry skin from the elements are ointments, and unfortunately these aren’t particularly glamorous or pleasant. However, they do the job, so ditch the scented and light creams and swap them for an all-purpose emollient, such as one that can also work as a soap substitute and bath additive. I use Hydromol which works wonders and can be used anywhere on the body. E45 is also really good if you want something that blends into the skin more quickly.
Switch to non-bio
An easy fix that may be irritating your skin without you even releasing is your washing powder or pods. It’s well known that non-bio washing products are much better for people with skin issues. Most companies offer non-bio versions to ensure there’s one less thing to worry about.
Buy some sensitive sanitiser
Sanitiser is pretty much a requirement when leaving the house nowadays, but there’s nothing quite like the sting of rubbing an alcohol-based liquid onto cracked and damaged hands. Fortunately, there are certain types available for sensitive skin which contain things like aloe vera and other ingredients with moisturising properties.
Dry, red and itchy skin is a bummer and can really put a damper on an already not-so-fun time. Little changes can make a big difference, so try and work out what causes your flare-ups and avoid them.