Its National Eczema Week and an appropriate time to consider and prepare for the possibility of a post-summer eczema flare.
Post summer dry skin is typically even drier and more reactive after months of UV exposure, applications of sun creams, excessive sweating and external holiday abrasives such as chlorine, sand and salt.
Add to that the drier humidity levels in the UK, back to work stress and constrictive sweaty office clothes and it’s a perfect storm for a post summer eczema flare.
Consultant dermatologist Dr Eva Melegh gives six tips on how to prevent post-summer eczema flares to help you ease calmly into the back-to-work routine.
1. Soothe Post-Summer Senstive Skin
Dry skin and increased sensitivity if typical in post-summer skin. This can make skin more reactive than normal which accelerates TEWL and can lead to an eczema flare.
The key to avoiding a flare is to take steps to reduce skin sensitivity during this vulnerable post-summer period.
Start by simplifying your skincare and body care routine. Avoid using any new perfumes or skincare products that contain perfumes or multiple ingredients.
Stick to moisturising products that are largely natural and do not contain perfumes or long lists of preservatives. Kalme Undercoat is a perfume and chemical-free base coat moisturising product designed for very sensitive skin to use under other products that contains a naturally sourced de-sensitising ingredient.
Do the same with your shampoo and hair care products as detergents and perfumes in most shampoos can trigger contact eczema flares during vulnerable periods when the residue runs over the skin on the face neck and shoulders. Switch to a non perfumed and chemical free shampoo designed for very sensitive and dry scalps.
2. Call in a Creamy Water-Free Cleanser
It’s best to reduce exfoliation during the post-summer period. Instead switch to a water-free cream cleanser to clean skin and avoid washing the face too much with water.
Water can evaporate more moisture from the surface of the skin when it dries making it drier and more reactive. A cream cleanser is gentler and more moisturising on skin prone to dryness and eczema.
Kalme Cream Cleanser (kalme.co.uk) is a water-free moisturising cream cleanser formulated for very sensitive and dry skin that is free from perfumes and chemicals.
3. Moisturise Dry Skin Under Make-up
During the post-summer period its beneficial to skin prone to eczema to use a moisturising product under any cosmetics during the day even if you are using a tinted moisturiser or concealer. That extra layer of moisture will help prevent dry skin from further drying out during the course of the day.
A serum is preferable to a heavy moisturiser for this purpose as it absorbs more quickly and sits better under cosmetics.
Kalme TeQ Serum is a super hydrating serum containing an extract of blue agave which is more hydrating than hyaluronic acid and is a natural skin prebiotic which helps repair skin barrier function. It also contains an extract of young caper buds with a proven desensitising action.
4. Layer Up Dry Skin Overnight
Overnight is when eczema-prone skin becomes most dehydrated. So just a single night skincare product during the post-summer period is often not sufficient.
A post-summer overnight skincare routine for skin prone to eczema should include more than one product with humectant and occlusive ingredients. Humectants draw water to the epidermis while occlusives seal that moisture in and protect it from evaporating.
An oil-based serum with a rich and repairing night cream with antioxidants and essential fatty acids layered over the top is an ideal combination for keeping eczema-prone skin moisturised all night. If you can find a serum with a prebiotic in it all the better as these help repair skin barrier function overnight to keep moisture locked in.
Effectively moisturised skin should still be flexible and comfortable by morning and not dry or tight.
5. Slather on a Buttery Dry Skin Salve
Salves are a saviour for post-summer patches of dry, rough and cracked eczema-prone skin and should be added to daily skincare routines and used liberally on all vulnerable areas such as elbows, ears, nostrils, eyebrows, knees and feet.
Salves that contain natural butters as well as anti-inflammatory ingredients are essential aides for preventing a post-summer eczema flare.
Hydrosil Turmeric Butter & Hypoallergenic Milk Salve is a super-rich salve made from a patented butter infused with turmeric for anti-inflammatory action and hypoallergenic donkey milk for instant relief and repair of patches of very sensitive skin, dry skin and cracked skin.
6. Feed Skin Barrier Function
Healthy skin barrier function is the key to keeping moisture locked in but skin prone to eczema is prone to a weaker skin barrier function. Once the skin barrier is weakened, external bacteria gets in more easily which leads to inflammation and itching typical of an eczema flare.
Skin prebiotics are like fuel for skin barrier function and help to keep it teaming with good skin bacteria that keeps it more robust against post-summer skin barrier assaults such as sunburn and external abrasives like chlorine and salt.
Clarol Silver Serum is a naturally active skin serum that contains a prebiotic silver ingredient that feeds good skin bacteria, while starving out bad skin bacteria.