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Eczema is a year-round challenge – but wintry weather brings out the worst in this dry skin condition

January 12, 2024 5 min read

Eczema is a year-round challenge – but wintry weather brings out the worst in this dry skin condition

Eczema is a dry, itchy skin condition that affects 1 in 5 babies and 1 in 12 adults in Ireland. The cold, wet, winter weather typical of this time of year is particularly challenging, because when temperatures dip skin cells dehydrate and compromise the integrity of the dermal barrier.

One of the biggest issues in winter is the variation in temperature between over-heated houses and the chill of the great outdoors. Going from a warm house out into the cold, then into a warm bus or car, and out into the cold again before eventually settling in an overheated office, wreaks havoc on sensitive skin.

Some practical steps to minimise temperature fluctuations include keeping your home at a comfortable 20C, or 18C in the bedrooms. This will save your skin as well as your pocket! When going outside, wear layers of natural fabrics like cotton, linen and silk, and a scarf to protect delicate facial skin.

The air inside our homes can also become too wet or too dry - both extremes are problematical to sensitive skin. A dehumidifier is useful for removing excess water, while placing a small bowl of water beside radiators helps counter excessively dry air. Avoid condensation and mould by maintaining good ventilation.


Eczema symptoms can vary from flaky to infected skin

More time spent indoors means more time exposed to troublesome irritants, so keep an eagle eye out for things that make your home trigger-happy. These include room sprays, pot pourri and scented candles. Opening a window to admit some fresh air is a healthy habit which is beneficial on a number of levels.

Symptoms of eczema vary. In mild cases, it can result in flakey, red, tender and itchy skin - an annoyance as much as than anything else. In severe cases, however, it can present as small itchy bumps filled with fluid that can burst and lead to painful infections which require medical attention.

There are a few simple things you can do to help keep your skin in good condition and protect it from the perfect storm of wintry weather.  Avoid long, hot baths or showers, which can dry out the skin, drink plenty of water, beware alcohol, and make sleep a priority – a cool room will give you the best night’s rest.

It is essential to protect and nourish the skin barrier, so become a slave to your daily skincare routine. Medical research confirms that using certified natural products with no nasty additives is the best way to keep your skin in tip-top condition. Elave Skincare contains no preservatives, sulfates, MI, scents, dyes or parabens.

 Cleansing twice daily is an essential of good facial skincare

Effective cleansing is the basis of good facial skincare. Cleansing twice a day rids skin of the impurities it encounters during the day including dirt, oil and makeup. Failing to establish a proper cleansing routine means your skin will be more liable to drying, premature ageing, blocked pores and breakouts.

 A word of warning: soap is the enemy!  Sulfates make products lather and foam, but  it is very drying and so exacerbate itchy, sensitive skin conditions like eczema. Even if you moisturise your face 10 times a day, you will undo all the good if you wash with soap or use a shampoo or conditioner containing sulfates.

Elave Facial Cleanser is a gentle, sulfate-free formula with antioxidant vitamin E to protect against cellular damage and repair dry, sensitive skin. The 250ml pump pack lasts for ages and clears away make-up and impurities without irritation. It is suitable for daily use and leaves eczema and dermatitis-prone skin feeling soothed and rehydrated.

Elave Hydrating Cream Cleanseris a great option for dry skin. This unique combination of hydrating emollients and skin cleansers in a vitamin B5 & E, natural glycerin and aloe vera enriched formula removes make-up while hydrating the skin, preventing moisture loss, irritation and premature ageing.

Elave Skin Balancing Cleansing Gelis an oil-free formula which blends naturally derived cleansers with pure antimicrobial Manuka honey UMF 10+. This gel contains natural amino acids and humectants to refresh, hydrate and soften skin, and vitamin E and calming camomile extract to protect from environmental damage.

Elave Rejuvenating Cleansing Treatment is a unique combination of hydrating emollients and 8% glycolic acid arginine complex which repairs and rejuvenates facial skin overnight. This treatment promotes cellular regeneration and stimulates collagen synthesis to actively rejuvenate the dermal barrier, revealing younger, brighter and deeply hydrated skin.


Moisturise face and body to support a healthy, glowing skin barrier

After cleansing, you will need to moisturise your skin to support a healthy dermal barrier. That means twice daily for your face, and as often as required for the rest of your body. Skin needs hydration to give it strength and elasticity and to enable it to field off infection, guard against UV rays, transmit sensation, and so on.  

Moisturisers work by increasing the water content in the skin’s outermost layer, enhancing its ability to hold water. It also covers small skin fissures, providing a soothing protective film that protects skin from friction. When your skin is properly moisturised, it will look plumper, smoother, brighter and younger.

Apply a facial moisturiser in the morning after cleansing, and again in the evening, between cleansing and going to bed. Lightly exfoliate with a soft washcloth or cotton pad to slough off dead skin cells, then apply the moisturiser while your face is still slightly damp, to help with absorption.

Elave Skincare’s range of facial and body hydrating moisturisers work together to nourish, repair and protect the skin. Formulations in the multi-award winning Elave Facial range are enriched with vitamins, aloe vera, coconut oil and shea butter, among many other things.

Elave Skin Balancing Moisturisercontains probiotics, Manuka Honey, vitamins B5 & E, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration levels and smooth the appearance of fine lines.

Elave Intense Moisture Surgedelivers a powerful fusion of coconut oil, shea butter, vitamins and glycerin to surge moisture back into the skin. Use either with Elave Eye Rescue Serum,a rich combination of vitamins, natural humectants and bio extracts.

Elave Skin Rebalancingand Elave Hydrating Essentialsare great value kits of formulas containing all you need to cleanse, moisturise and protect facial skin.


Elave formulas work together for head-to-toe reassurance

Elave Dermatological offers head-to-toe reassurance with a range of rich formulations for hair, face, body and hands. Elave Body Lotionis a clinically proven, emollient rich moisturising cream, or try Elave Body Oil, a nourishing oil which is quickly absorbed to reduce evaporation and keep the skin hydrated.  

Elave Intensive Cream protects the skin’s natural barrier and reduces flare-ups of dry, ultra-sensitive, eczema and dermatitis prone skin. Contains white soft paraffin and fractionated coconut oil to soothe, hydrate and calm the skin. Elave Intensive Ointment is a rich emollient moisturising treatment that helps reduce flare-ups of eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.

Elave Derma Skin Essentials is another great value pack of formulations designed to be used together for best results. Each kit contains an Elave Body Wash, a pure, sulfate-free cleansing wash with camomile extract and vitamin E; gentle, sulfate-free Elave Shampoo -suitable for daily use; and Elave Body Lotion.


Formulas from Ovelle by Gardiner Family Apothecary are particularly useful for severe cases of eczema. Ovelle Silcock’s Baseis a traditional high lipid cream containing 20% white soft paraffin.

Ovelle Aqueous Cream and Ovelle Emulsifying Ointment are non-irritating formulas suitable for all skin types. Allcan be used as soap substitutes for cleansing as well as skin moisturisers.


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