It’s that time of year when the temperature drops bringing with it cold winds, central heating and low humidity. Dry air can take away moisture in the skin, leaving skin vulnerable to flaring, itchy and sometimes painful conditions such as severe dry skin and eczema.
Dr. Michael Freeman, Principal Dermatologist, The Skin Centre Suite, Gold Coast share his top tips on how to keep you skin supple and healthy this winter the natural way.
- Natural products containing Manuka Honey
Honey has been used in skin care, wound care and healing for centuries[i]. Medical grade Manuka honey is produced under strictly controlled conditions and may be applied to cracked and inflamed skin such as eczema to assist with control of skin colonising bacteria associated with eczema. Manuka honey creams with soothing ingredients including aloe vera and chamomile may provide symptomatic relief of eczema.
- Take extra precaution when bathing
People with dry skin and eczema should avoid bathing with hot water and soap as it may worsen the condition. Immersing yourself in a bath can cause the skin to react negatively to the inescapable heat so a quick shower with tepid water on the gentlest pressure setting is better. Choose special soap-free washes over ordinary soap which may dry out the skin. Pat your skin dry using a soft towel and avoid rubbing the eczema.
- Avoid the preservative Methylisothiazolinone (MI)
Read labels rigorously and try to use products that are free of chemical preservatives such as MI as allergies to preservatives, especially MI, often trigger flare ups. MI can be found in anything from makeup, to creams, to shampoos and body washes. If you’re confused or overwhelmed, ask a chemist or healthcare professional to help you find products free from MI.
- Moisturise immediately after showering
Keeping your skin lubricated is important for people suffering from dry and eczema prone skin especially, try to avoid it drying out and cracking. It is advisable to moisturise immediately after showering to lock in the moisture left on the skin’s surface.
- Avoid added fragrances
Fragrances can be found in every-day products such as shampoo, soap and moisturiser. While these fragrances smell lovely, if applied topically to eczema prone skin, they can often lead to stinging and dry skin. If your skin is bleeding or weeping, opt for natural products that are fragrance free and do not contain colours and alcohol.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner.
By: Dr. Michael Freeman, Principal Dermatologist, The Skin Centre Suite, Gold Coast