Whether you take it first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, showering regularly is an important part of any hygiene routine. Unfortunately, if you’re one of the millions of people dealing with eczema, taking a shower can actually irritate skin and even bring on a flare-up!
Why does eczema get worse after a shower? Read on to discover some helpful tips on how to create a pleasant showering experience even when suffering from eczema.
Eczema and Hot Water
Due to a damaged skin barrier that has trouble retaining moisture, people with eczema tend to have chronically dry skin.
Factors that can contribute to dry skin include extreme hot or cold temperatures, low humidity, wind, harsh soaps - and prolonged exposure to water. Specifically, hot water tends to have a drying effect on the skin and is known to exacerbate symptoms. So while a hot, steamy shower might sound tempting, it’s important that you use lukewarm water instead. In fact, it’s recommended that you turn the temperature down two notches from where you’d like it to be.
Why Does Eczema Get Worse After a Shower?
While taking a shower after a run or simply at the end of the day sounds great, manhy people report that their skin feels itchy after a shower. This is because water from a hot or cold shower can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and itching.
In addition, some soaps contain harsh chemicals that also remove moisture from the skin and leave skin feeling drier than before. For someone who already suffers from dry skin due to eczema, this is bad news! To prevent this from happening, avoid scented body washes and soaps, and opt for natural products instead.
To help combat the drying effects of soap and water, we recommend applying a moisturizer immediately after your shower. We love this Organic Manuka Honey Cream. Containing just six, all-natural ingredients - including olive oil, organic beeswax, and Manuka honey - it’s soft and gentle on the skin. Even little ones can enjoy the soothing effects of its buttery texture! With no added preservatives or fragrances, it moisturizes even the driest of skin.
Tips for Showering with Eczema
If you suffer from eczema or notice that you feel itchy after taking a shower, here are some tips to help you find relief.
Avoid Long, Hot Showers: Your shower should be short. Ideally, you should aim for around five minutes to ten minutes. In addition to keeping your shower brief, remember to use cool water as opposed to hot.
Don’t Shower More Than Once a Day: Limit your shower to once a day (less often is okay too). Children can shower even less frequently - around once or twice per week. Taking more than one a day simply gives the water more opportunity to strip away your skin’s natural oils.
Pat Dry The Skin: After your shower, be sure to use a soft towel to pat dry your body. You want to avoid rubbing the towel against your skin as this can lead to irritation.
Use Soap Strategically and Sparingly: To avoid causing unnecessary flare-ups, consider using soap only in “strategic” areas, such as armpits, feet, hands, and genitals. Don’t overdo the amount of soap you use. Be sure to also avoid scrubbing your skin with exfoliators such as loofah, scrubbers, or harsh sponges as these can further irritate the skin. Even washcloths cause friction and should be used with caution. The best way to wash is simply by lathering with your hands.
Use Natural Products: As always, avoid using products that contain fragrances, alcohol, antibacterial ingredients, preservatives, or harsh cleansers. Unfortunately, no matter how tempting they might sound, bubble baths are also a no-go. Natural products are best!
Wash your Towels Properly: We recommend washing your towels with allergen- and fragrance-free detergents. If necessary, consider running them through an extra rinse cycle.
Moisturize Immediately: As mentioned earlier, be sure to apply a natural moisturizer immediately after showering. This is important for restoring lost moisturize to your skin. Oil-based moisturizers (such as the Manuka Honey Cream mentioned above) trap the skin’s moisture best.
Dry or Wet Wrap Therapy: For those suffering from more severe eczema, we suggest looking into dry or wet wrapping that consists of using a natural emollient and soothing fabric (like with our Remedywear, clothing for eczema) to seal in moisture and help repair dry, irritated or painful skin.