After showering skin tends to get extra dry and irritable. Why is does my eczema get worse?
Dust mite allergy as well as pollen, mold, and pet allergy, can cause skin to be dry and itchy. These allergens are known for causing allergic eczema which looks unsightly, unhealthy, and red.
If you have dry, itchy skin caused by allergy you might be looking for ways to keep your skin moisturized. I’ve got a tip about bathing that I’ve used for years and should help.
The tip was was first mentioned to me by my allergist. I tried it and realized that it worked.
In this article I’ll highlight how often you should shower with eczema and a few different additional actions you can take. I also share if it’s wise to take a cold shower and if hot showers can cause eczema.
I Was Diagnosed With Eczema And Allergies
I was diagnosed with eczema as a kid. I began getting white spots on my arms and legs. It was seasonal but always seemed to worsen in the winter and late summer.
Each year it slowly crept to additional parts of my body. Around my lips were the worst place to get eczema because it was hard to moisturize and everyone could see it.
I was prescribed cortisone creams and that was it. For years I applied the cream to my skin hoping I would outgrow the symptoms.
After university my symptoms began to worsen. I had never been to an allergist before (my GP and dermatologist never referred me) but I thought about it more and more.
Eventually I made an appointment and was tested. Wow! I learned I was allergic to almost everything (dust mites, pollen, mold, pets, yeasts…you name it). My allergist told me my allergies were causing my eczema. It all made sense.
As I began treatment my allergist gave some advice that included:
- Using allergy proof bed covers
- Reducing carpets and rugs inside the house
- Taking anti-inflammatory supplements
- Utilize high quality HVAC filters for allergies
- Bathing with less heat and not showering
His advice was relatively simple to implement. I made a few purchases for my bedroom and improved how I cleaned my home. I even got rid of some of the rugs in my house.
Managing My Allergic Eczema With Baths Instead Of Showers
For many years I was told to take short, quick showers. I tried this advice when my eczema was really bad but I never saw results.
Plus, showers always felt good and it was tough to take short showers. Like most people I preferred long, hot showers.
My doctor told me to bathe instead of showering and I thought I’d give it a try. My doctor mentioned a few of the benefits of baths over showering.
- Better control of temperature
- No water splashing against skin
- Skin can actually absorb moisture while submerged in a bath
Shower water, whether warm or cool, sprays directly against our skin and tends to wash away the body’s natural oil. It occurs no matter how long or short the shower is. This is why my skin always felt extra dry after showering.
The skins natural oils help with flexibility and appearance but also help the body by providing an extra layer of protection from substances it comes in contact with. After showering I found my dry irritated skin was more susceptible to dust mite, pollen, and pet allergy.
I always noticed that my allergies were worse after taking a hot shower and my eczema would be much more inflamed when it was dry. I always applied lotion after showers but it wasn’t enough to keep my skin happy.
After trying my doctors advice I realized that bathing was helping. I no longer felt extra dry after washing and I didn’t need to apply as much lotion after my bath.
Since there wasn’t water spraying against my skin I found the temperature was less of an issue. I don’t take hot baths but I certainly don’t take cold baths (the temperature is warm and comfortable).
Other benefits of baths included things that had nothing to do with my eczema. It was more relaxing and peaceful (showers aren’t very relaxing because you’re standing the whole time).
It gave me a chance to slow down after a long day. I’ve experienced the benefits of a baths for my eczema and on my mind.
Below are a few specific questions I wanted to answer directly.
Showering Is My Only Option: How Often Should I Do It
Once you realize that showers can exacerbate your eczema it seems like an activity to avoid. However you can’t just avoid showers or bathing or else you could loose your friends because you smell bad and appear unhygienic.
How often should you shower then?
Researchers in this eczema study referred to frequent bathing as 1 time per day and non-frequent bathing as 1 time every other day. Their research found that doctors gave instructions conflicting advice about bathing frequency for children with eczema.
Another study found that the frequency of bathing did not play a large role in managing eczema. This result indicates that bathing and management of dry skin is a personal preference.
It also depends on how much oil your body produces on a daily basis (some people more than others).
If your skin can be managed with showers once a day then go for it. If your skin dries out too much then try bathing once every 2 days.
Sometimes I’ll bathe once a day and sometimes every other day. It matters how I feel and the time of year. My skin tends to dry out more in cold dry winters so I bathe less frequently.
I would suggest not bathing 2 times per day as that will definitely make it hard for oils to protect your skin.
Are Cold Showers Good For Eczema
In my experience showers aren’t good for eczema. Skin doesn’t react well to the repetitive force of water against it.
Between baths and showers, cold showers should be viewed as a middle option. They are a great alternative to long hot showers but not near as good for skin as baths.
Let’s be honest, who’s going to take a cold shower in winter? People don’t like taking cold showers and if they try it the habit doesn’t usually last long.
Instead opt for a lukewarm bath. It will be more comfortable and do a better job at soothing dry eczema.
Can Hot Showers Cause Eczema
Hot showers are the worst option for people with eczema and if you like long showers it can mean double-trouble. Hot showers heat up the skin, making it easy to wash away the skins natural oils (like any oil, heat makes it more liquid and unable to adhere to the skin).
Natural oils on your skin fill the small gaps between skin cells and help protect the body from bacteria, dirt, and allergens. Once these are washed away skin looses some of its elasticity and looses its glowing appearance.
Tips For Showering With Eczema
- Keep showers short
- Keep them cool
- Never let water spray directly where you have eczema
- Face, neck, hands, and inside of arms are at most risk from loosing natural oils
- To wash your face, cup your hands to collect water and splash against your face
- Pad yourself dry with a towel (never rub)
- Apply moisturizer immediately after drying
How often should you shower with eczema? The best answer is not to shower. Take a bath instead!
One of the first things my allergist told me was to take baths rather than showers. As I learned, shower spray washes your body’s natural oils away.
A long shower combined with heat can expose your skin, making eczema worse and making you susceptible to your allergens.
Eczema that lacks your body’s natural oils will lack elasticity and can break open. This leads to an overall worsening of eczema and can also lead to infection.
Baths can be a relaxing alternative to showers. Eczema can absorb moisture in a bath and skin won’t lose its natural oils. Ever since I began taking baths my skin no longer dries out afterward.
I find myself using less moisturizer as well.
If your only option is to take a shower make sure you keep it short, keep it cool, and adjust the faucet so the spray doesn’t land on your eczema. If you have eczema on your face, use your hands to catch the water and gentle splash on your face.
I use soap but I don’t use on my entire body. I only use soap where I need the best cleaning. Places on my body like my arms and legs can be adequately washed by scrubbing with my hand (soap tends to cause dryness).
Thanks for reading another Dust Mite Solutions article. Visit my homepage to find more articles on allergy. You can learn from my experiences without making the same mistakes.