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Can sweating cause eczema flare-ups?

Here in Australia we’re blessed with beautiful sunny days and clear skies, and whilst that makes for a great outdoor lifestyle, it can play havoc with sensitive skin.

Heat is a common eczema trigger and heat also equals sweat. Your child will sweat more in warmer weather as they try to regulate their body temperature. Many people with eczema become itchy or experience a “prickly heat” sensation when they sweat, which is very uncomfortable.

Sweat contains mainly water, which takes all the moisture out of the skin, causing dryness and irritation. This environment attracts bacteria which further inflames the skin. Sweat also has a very small amount of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc which can also further irritate your poor bubs skin.

You may have noticed that the areas of the body where moisture accumulates most, such as the insides of the elbows, back of the knees and around the neck, tend to be hot spots for eczema rashes.

There are two types of sweat glands in the body that help with the sweating process. These are eccrine and apocrine glands. There are occasions when the opening of these ducts become occluded, especially in hot weather. This can lead to miliaria, a type of rash that commonly occurs on the back and can be itchy.

Management of your child’s eczema is crucial in the hotter months, and as always, prevention is better than treatment when it comes to flare ups. Try to keep your child as cool as possible on hot days. Carry a handheld fan where possible to cool the skin and get rid of any residual sweat. Dress them in light, cotton clothes that help wick away moisture and keep them in the shade where possible.

Make sure sweat doesn’t stay on your child’s body – wipe and dry the skin with cool water when necessary. If you do wash the skin, re-apply some eczema moisturiser or sunscreen straight away, to lock the moisture back in.  Keep your little one hydrated by getting them to drink lots of water throughout the day.

Here are some great tips on managing your baby’s eczema in hotter weather.

This post was brought to you and your baby with love by Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team. X

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

heat and eczema

Why does heat make eczema worse?

We’re coming into Summer which means beach days and picnics. We love being outdoors and enjoying the sunshine, but we also know it can make eczema symptoms worse.

You may have a great management plan in place throughout Winter and Autumn, but as the heat increases, you may find you need to re-think your approach. It turns out hot weather is one of the most common trigger of eczema, especially in children, so you might notice your little one’s eczema more during Summer than Winter.

How does heat trigger eczema?

Heat causes water loss which dries out the skin. Dryness breaks down the skin’s natural barrier which can then no longer protect it from irritants and toxins, allowing them to get into the skin and cause damage. Hot temperatures can also make us sweat. Not only does sweat take all the moisture out of the skin, but it also brings any irritants to the surface where they can aggravate and inflame the skin.

What does heat do to eczema skin?

  • Dries out the skin which makes it a nice place for bacteria to live and irritate the skin.
  • Makes the skin red which causes itching.
  • Breaks down the skin’s natural barrier so irritants can more easily get in.
  • Causes sweating which makes the skin damp and takes away moisture.
  • There is also a study which concludes that people with eczema don’t get rid of the heat from their bodies as well as those without eczema which triggers itching, redness and inflammation.

How can you prevent flare-ups in the heat?

  • Loose fitting cotton clothing is least likely to trap heat around your little one’s body during warmer months. Layering what you put on your little one will let you take off one layer as the weather heats up throughout the day. This is especially important when you’re travelling in the car. Dress for car travel, rather than your destination.
  • Night time heat can trigger eczema too, so avoiding thick pyjamas and doonas which can trap heat is really important. Try using a cotton sheet and cotton blankets instead of a doona and removing a blanket on warm nights.
  • Regular bathing of your little one with eczema has two benefits. It removes irritants from the skin’s surface which can cause itching and inflammation and it is the most effective way to put moisture back into the skin. Using itchy baby co bath soaks in the bath will leave a thin film on the skin which acts as a barrier to trap moisture to stop the skin from drying out and they also have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.
  • Moisturising immediately after taking your little one out of the bath and while the skin is still damp will lock in hydration to the skin and help to protect the skin’s natural barrier. Moisturising can also reduce the temperature of the skin which helps to prevent it from drying out. Our eczema moisturiser is made with 100% natural ingredients and has soothing colloidal oatmeal, shea butter and vitamin E, which help protect your child’s skin.
  • Using a cold compress on eczema skin can be a good way to lower the skin’s temperature and help to manage itching. To make a cold compress use a clean washcloth which has been soaked in cold water. Rest it on the skin for a few minutes to take the heat out and repeat until the skin has cooled down.

This post was brought to you and your baby with love by Julia and the Itchy Baby Co. team. X

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.