Summer: An Eczema Sufferer's Worst Nightmare.
I love Summer as much as the next man (or woman) and in Britain, I too revel in the heat because let's face it - we don't get it all that often. Last week whilst Manchester was facing flash flooding, South Wales was blazing sunshine and a less than breezy 25 degrees. And I got sunburnt again.
I bloody love the hot weather. I love not having to take a jumper out, I love driving with the windows down, I love wearing sandals not boots....but what I do not love is the affect it has on my skin.
I've mentioned a few times now that I have a list of allergies as long as my arm and that extends to the most sensitive skin known to man that flares up at any old thing.
Summer and the heat is really not great on my skin and for my eczema. Have you ever experienced heat lumps when you got too hot and bothered or seen a kid with them? My skin just flares up with loads of them which in turn flares up my skin and then whadda ya know, I'm a walking itch. It's really flattering.
I've experienced enough Indian summers and enough British heat waves to have a few tips and tricks to keep you cool in the sunshine and make sure you can enjoy the hot weather as much as everyone else.
- Sweating Makes It Worse. There really is nothing you can do about this when it's really baking but sweating makes your skin feel a bit salty? If that makes sense? If you already have prickled skin the sweat just makes it 10x worse until it's actually a bit painful and it's all you can do not to scratch it. Try and combat this by staying as cool as you possibly can (easy to say I know I know.)
- Suncream Worsens It. So you might not know this if you don't suffer from dodgy skin that hates you but suncream to stop yourself getting burnt? Nuh uh, skin hates it. When you arms and face and neck are already dry and cracking, pouring suncream on yourself does nothing for it which is not ideal when you want to stay sun safe. Best thing you can do is put it on gently and try and avoid the most cracked patches of skin if that's possible.
- Keep Cool. I appreciate you can't always do that but you're supposed to take breaks from the sun anyway for sun safety and avoiding heat stroke and it's the same from your skin. Taking time out in the shade to ease off the sweating (aren't humans just wonderful?) will make a difference. Got a hand held fan like you're back in the 90s? Double points to you.
- Cold Water & Ice. For those of you who don't know the perils of eczema in the heat, it basically feels like when you've sunburnt really badly? Like you can feel the heat radiating off your skin and it feels stiff and uncomfortable and anything that touches it makes you feel a bit ill. Except add in a painful scratching like pins and needles and a CONSTANT itch. One of the absolute best things is running your arms under cold water from the tap or better still, putting some ice on. I recommend having some in your freezer ALWAYS.
- Cold Showers. Similarly, cold showers are LIFE SAVING and this is coming from someone who is not a fan of cold showers. Like I am the person who comes out of the bathroom like a tomato cos I had my shower so hot and closed all the windows. But in the summer when you're just one big itch, having a shower as cold as you can take it is remarkable. Best time of the day? When you've come back in, evening time because you wash away all the pollen and suncream and dust and stuff clogging up your pores.
- Scrubbing. For the same reason. All through the day in summer when you're slathered in suncream which is sticky (always nice) you end up clogged up with dust and hayfever and midges and just generally stuff that isn't going to help your skin condition. When you're in the shower or when you get in from a long day get a flannel with cool water and wash away all the bad stuff, but be nice about it, taking off all your skin with a fierce flannel won't do you any favours.
- Wear Loose Clothing. This one is a no brainer but when you're already a sweaty piglet, wearing tight clothing won't help. I find dressing for summer HORRIFIC anyway not being a skirt/short/dresses kinda gal so my staple go to is a loose fitting stripey shirt and even in the hottest of days you'll find me in one because you can roll the sleeves up and just whack a bralet on underneath and you're good to go.
- Mummy Up. This last one is a bit of a niche one, I don't know if anyone else does this or has had this recommended but my Mum was recommended this trick when I was a child. I had bad eczema when I was a toddler/young kid and it disappeared only to come back when I was 15 due to exam stress (I know, poor me and my GCSEs). When I was little I can categorically remember (and has been confirmed to be true) my mum letting me choose what colour bandages I wanted to wear to bed. Basically to ease my poor skin which back then was on my elbows and knees (now inside arm/face/neck) my Mum would soak cotton wool in cool cream and then bandage me up for bed and honestly it was the COOLEST most refreshing thing for poorly skin ever.
If you have made it to the end of this post without vomming at all the talk of itchy skin and all the photos, that probably means you know the pain we suffer and hopefully this list will give you some relief over the summer. Here's hoping for an (itch free) hot summer!
If you liked this you might also like 'Things People With A Skin Condition Know To Be True' or 'A Beauty Post Written By A Non Beauty Blogger.'