Is your Eczema causing you to dread the summer months? not being able to go swimming or enjoy the beach because of the itching, burning and stinging, let alone the embarrassment of red, raw skin. Well, fear not with a few simple skincare tips you too can venture back into the water and start enjoying summer again.
With summer just around the corner it’s off with the hat and scarves and on with the togs. A favourite past time in Australia during the warm summer months is the beach and swimming. For those people lucky enough to not have eczema nothing is more fun and enjoyable than the sun, sand and surf.
Unfortunately for people with eczema summer is a dreaded time of year.
Some people find that their eczema actually improves in the warmer months with exposure to sunlight. Others find the sun, sand, surf or chlorine a recipe for disaster.
Chlorine is extremely drying and even the healthiest of skin can suffer the effects of dry, irritated skin after a long cool dip in the swimming pool.
What about the beach?
While salt water solutions (saline) is commonly used to clean wounds and assist with healing it is also very drying and for some especially baby eczema, the sting of the salt water in skin cracks and the abrasiveness of sand can be particularly painful.
This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of sun, sand and surf.
With a few simple tips you too can enjoy summer without eczema making it impossible:
Ten tips to enjoy summer:
1. Are you taking antihistamines or medications that may cause sun sensitivities? Always check with your pharmacist or Doctor before going out into the sun.
2. Always patch test your sunscreen twice before going in the sun. Sometimes a reaction may not occur initially from the first application of sunscreen so when a reaction does occur on the second application then usually the surf or pool water is blamed.
3. The sun is always strongest between the hours of 10am – 2pm so keep out of the sun during these times and ensure you slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.
4. Dress in UV clothing before going in the sun these garments have been specifically designed with SPF protection factors, the higher the number, the stronger the protection. If possible choose light colours over dark e.g.: white instead of black as white doesn’t absorb heat as much as black clothing.
5. Before swimming apply a thick layer of emollient cream all over your body paying special attention to areas affected by eczema. Try to allow 30 minutes between applying emollient and sunscreen.
6. Apply sunscreen, 30+ is a must (Cancer Council Classic Sun Cream is a very rich heavy cream) suitable for eczema prone skin or Sunsense Toddler Milk is recommended by the National Eczema Society these particular products contain Titanium Dioxide which can sit on the skin and act as a barrier. The only downfall is because they have a heavy base it can leave a white residue on the skin.
Ensure you apply your cream in downward, gentle strokes to avoid irritating the skin and triggering the itch that is so common with eczema.
7. After swimming ensure you rinse yourself with plain water and a small amount of gentle bath wash or oil to remove any chlorine or salt water residue then pat your skin dry.
Remember to choose products that do not contain fragrances.
8. Reapply emollient moisturiser to your skin and do this at least 4 times a day or more if your skin needs it.
9. Even if your eczema is currently under control continue to apply emollient cream frequently to keep your skin barrier intact and lower the incidence of an eczema flare up.
10. Always seek medical advice if skin is bleeding or weeping to ensure you don’t develop an infection.
|How to patch test
For children use a small area on the upper back to shoulder, approx 3cms in size or 1 inch.
Little hands can’t reach this area and it will be easy for you to assess for a reaction.
Usually a reaction can occur straight after the application of the product but this isn’t always the case. If a reaction doesn’t occur continue applying the product a few times over a 24 hour period in case of a delayed reaction.
What to check for
Usually the first signs of a reaction are redness, itching, burning, welts or blistering. If these symptoms should occur flush the skin immediately with cold water and discontinue using the product. Baby’s should always be rinsed after a bath so all traces of bath wash are removed from the skin and reducing the chances of irritations occurring
By following the above tips you too can enjoy the summer months without the sting.