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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.

eczema in the heat and warm weather

What are some quick tips for helping eczema in the heat?

Trying to manage our children’s eczema during the heat can be challenging because heat is a common trigger that can aggravate intense eczema flare-ups.  It is so hard emotionally to see our children distressed and also difficult practically when we are constantly doing our best to manage their eczema. Here are some ways to control the symptoms caused by heat and make our children more comfortable.

How does the heat affect eczema?

Healthy skin acts as a barrier to protect the skin from coming into contact with bacteria or any other microbes in the environment. However, when your child has eczema, the barrier doesn’t work as well and is more prone to have bacteria living on and inflaming the skin.

During warm weather, our children sweat to try and regulate their body temperature. Sweat contains trace amounts of chemicals such as zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron, which may be irritating to the skin. In high humidity, sweat cannot evaporate easily, leading to a build-up of these chemicals and causing itching and irritation.

Sweat is made up mostly of water. When water sits on the skin it causes evaporation on the skin’s surface which takes away hydration from the skin. The makes the skin dry and more itchy.

Heat stimulates the itch reflex, so it is important to make sure your child is kept in a cool environment and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Managing eczema in the heat

  • Wear soft, breathable clothing

Loose fitting clothing is least likely to trap heat in the body and allow your child to stay cool. Stay away from nylon, wool or any rough fabric that may cause itchiness and irritation. Breathable cotton is best as it absorbs perspiration and is more comfortable for your little one’s skin.

  • Stay away from the sun during the hottest part of the day

Avoid be outside during the hottest part of the day to minimise flare-ups and have better control of your child’s body temperature.

  • Keep up the fluids

Making sure your child is drinking plenty of water will help to keep the body’s core temperature from rising. Ice blocks are another great way to increase fluid intake and also cool down the body down.

  • Using cool compresses or wearing a dampened singlet

Applying a cool compress to the skin or wearing a dampened singlet will immediately start taking the heat out of the skin and the edge off itching. Apply the wet compress for a few minutes, or until you can feel it warming up and then repeat until the skin cools down. When you have finished, moisturise the skin to stop hydration leaving the skin.

  • Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise

Make sure to keep your child’s regular moisturiser with you at all times. If you are at home, keeping your moisturiser in the fridge will cool down the skin when you apply it. Moisturisers act as a barrier on the skin to keep away from unwanted bacteria and prevent infection.  The best time to moisturise is within two minutes of taking your little one out of the water while the skin is still damp – this is when the skin can absorb the most amount of hydration from moisturising.

  • Regular bath time routine

Regular bathing is important in managing eczema because it helps to wash any irritants that may be sitting on the skin’s surface and allows a greater opportunity to absorb moisture using a moisturising and protecting bath soak. It helps to also wash away sweat or pollen from the environment to soothe your child’s skin.

This blog post was brought to you and your baby with love from 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.


How to help stop the itching

What can I do to stop my child itching their eczema skin?

Eczema is a chronic skin condition and itching is often the main symptom. Generally, children develop symptoms at a very young age, usually at three months and although many children will grow out of their eczema, some will experience eczema symptoms, including itching, right into adulthood. Understanding eczema and what we can do to relieve the itch will lead to better eczema management and less flare ups and infection.  

What causes eczema?

Researchers believe a combination of genetics and environmental factors play a role. Those with eczema have a sensitive immune system so when triggered by an allergen, the system attacks it, leading to itchy and painful skin. The skin also lets moisture escape easily, which also makes it dry and itchy and allows irritants to get into the skin, causing inflammation.

What are the symptoms of eczema?

The first sign of eczema is usually red, inflamed skin, and the first symptom of eczema is usually intense itchy skin. This leads to dry and bumpy skin, with red patches of different sizes, generally on the face, neck, arms and legs, but these can occur anywhere on the body. Eczema locations can change with time, for example, when your children start to crawl, you may see more eczema appear on the lower legs

What to do when your child is itchy?

Night time can be one of the most difficult times to manage itching and too often we notice our children’s sheets with blood from where they have cut their skin itching. Dressing your child in 100% cotton pyjamas will let the skin breathe and not keep air trapped at the surface of the skin which increases heat and therefore the need to scratch. Using 100% cotton sheets, and blankets and ditching the doona and quilts also reduces heat around the body.   

Hot skin is itchy skin and using cool compresses can help by taking the heat out of the skin. Run a washer under cool water and squeeze it until it’s only damp not dripping wet. Place this on your child’s itchy skin for a few minutes and then repeat. Feel the washer after you take it off, it will be very warm! Also doing the same with one of your child’s singlets and then dressing them in it will bring down their core temperature, this can also help to lower the temperature of the skin and make it less itchy.

One of the most important ways to manage itching is to maintain your child’s regular skin care routine.

A healthy skin barrier is so important in managing eczema and controlling the eczema itch. Make sure you keep up with your child’s skin care routine to put the most amount of moisture into the skin and stop triggers getting in as well as moisture escaping.

This blog post was brought to you and your child with love from 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.


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