Whether we like it or not, colder weather is coming. And for little ones with eczema, that can mean flare-ups and triggers that cause them discomfort, something no parent wants! As the weather begins to change, we decided to get some insight from an expert on preventing eczema flare-ups during the winter months.
We were lucky enough to connect with Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum, a mom of two and a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology. She shared her advice on preventing and managing children’s eczema in the winter.
What is eczema?
Atopic dermatitis, a.k.a. eczema, is a skin condition marked by itchy, dry, and rough patches of the skin. Eczema is a disease characterized by a dysfunctional skin barrier and inflammation of the skin. Different genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of eczema.
Why does eczema typically get worse in the winter?
It’s a combination of factors! Cold weather and lower humidity all contribute to dry skin and trigger eczema. Additionally, we all spend more time indoors during the winter because of the colder weather and shorter days. This extra time inside with dry heat can also dry out skin even more.
What are ways to improve eczema during the winter?
Moisturizing is key to improving eczema and dry skin. I recommend using ointments like Aquaphor or Vaseline in babies and kids with eczema or dry skin in the winter. Be sure to steer clear of any cleansers and moisturizers with fragrances as these could lead to allergic reactions in your little ones with sensitive skin. Instead, stick to gentle, hypoallergenic products. Brands like Vanicream, Cerave, or Aveeno are great options for eczema-friendly skincare.
Should I change their bathing routine during the winter?
Frequent bathing can make skin drier and lead to flare-ups of eczema. During the winter, keep baths shorter and bathe less often. If you usually bathe your littles daily, switch to every other day during the winter to avoid drying their skin out too much. Lastly, use lukewarm instead of hot water. Hot water removes moisture from the skin and can dry it out even more!
Any other tips for the winter?
Definitely keep your infants and children warm and covered with hats, mittens, and layers when they’re outdoors! Humidifiers indoors can help reduce dryness as well.
Can certain clothes or fabrics help?
Absolutely! When looking for eczema-friendly textiles, prioritize comfort, softness, and breathability. Little Sleepies pajamas are made from bamboo viscose, a soft material that keeps skin cool and comfortable and helps prevent overheating and irritation of sensitive skin. The softer and smoother the fabric, the better!
I also recommend looking for clothing with minimal tags or interior buttons that can contribute to itching.
When should I take my child to the doctor for eczema?
If your child’s skin is not improving with these tips above, I recommend an evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist.
We love sharing resources to help you on your journey with your littles. Be sure to follow Dr. Charlotte Birnbaum on Instagram for more skincare advice for babies and toddlers! And remember to connect with us in our VIP Group to meet like-minded parents and caregivers.