For those who suffer from atopic dermatitis (AD), the winter season often proves to be a difficult one. As family and friends gather to celebrate during the holidays, sometimes having eczema flares can be embarrassing. There is currently limited data on reasons why this is the case, but we do know that the problem exists and that it worsens in the winter time.
One possible explanation was found regarding the worsening of symptoms during the transition to wintertime. It was observed that many patients (one study documented up to 98% of participants) were found to be deficient in vitamin D. The hypothesis that there is a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and AD was investigated and published in 2014 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. One hundred and seven children in Mongolia who suffered from atopic dermatitis were randomized into two groups. One received daily vitamin D for one month while the other received placebo. The results showed a 29% improvement in the vitamin D group while the placebo group showed a 16% improvement. Although the study did not demonstrate whether the children were vitamin D deficient, the degree of improvement compared to placebo shows promise in terms of preventative management in AD and deserves attention.
As we do know, AD is an inflammatory skin condition that can sometimes be difficult to control and is exacerbated by many factors including seasonal changes, stress, infections, and even contact with various irritants. Although the study results above seems appealing, visiting your dermatologist to talk about your skin and how to manage your AD during the winter season is very important.
If you do suffer from AD or sensitive skin, here are some common tips for helping you stay comfortable this winter season!
- Think cotton! Using softer fabrics makes the skin feel comfortable and can be layered when it gets chilly.
- Stay cool! Sweating can make your skin feel very irritated and make you feel worse. If you find yourself stuck in a toasty room, be mindful of what your skin may be telling you.
- Humidify! A great way to prevent your skin from getting too dry is to use a cool mist-type humidifier especially during the wintertime when the heating could dry up the air. There is benefit to using it year-round, as air conditioning in the summer time could create a dry environment.
With these simple tips, hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays and stay comfortable in your own skin!