Eczema and Sweat: How to Prevent Summer Induced Flare Ups

Eczema and Sweat

By Laura Dolgy (see bio below)

One of eczema’s worst enemies = sweat. Sadly, humidity and eczema just aren’t friends in most cases. This week, we’re taking a look at eczema and sweat and what can be done to avoid flare ups from summer heat and humidity.

Please keep in mind that although these what we discuss in this post can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

Eczema and Sweat

So why is eczema exacerbated from sweat? Well, normally, as sweat evaporates, it cools and provides relief to the surface of healthy skin. But it’s quite the opposite for anyone with eczema. Researchers have found that eczema sufferers are quite sensitive to their own sweat and that their bodies release a histamine response from hot temperatures, which can worsen itching. [1]

There is also the theory that sweat that is secreted through the sweat duct is rapidly absorbed by the outside layer of the skin, which results in rapid swelling around the opening of the sweat duct at a microscopic level, eventually causing its closure. This is an issue, as the sweat leaks onto the surrounding skin rather than being secreted onto the skin surface. [2,3]

However sweat worsens eczema, the itch-scratch cycle can be even worse from sweat, as the skin becomes dry and irritated.

Humidity and Eczema

Now with humidity and eczema you have a few things that can happen. With high humidity, and especially when temperatures are extremely warm like during summer months, the body will produce more sweat, leading to the issues we mentioned above. With low humidity, which we see in winter months, the body will have the opposite reaction – instead of producing sweat, the skin will actually dry out. Sweat vs drying, neither are ideal. This is why humidity and eczema are not ideal and something anyone with eczema must try to avoid.

How to Avoid Sweat Induced Eczema?

Although it is almost impossible to entirely avoid sweat induced eczema, there are many ways to reduce itching from sweating.

Above all, it’s important to stay hydrated. People with eczema generally have inherently dry skin and a weaker skin barrier, so drinking water to keep skin hydrated is very important. Aside from drinking water, staying cool with both cold showers, as well as staying in cooler areas can keep flare ups at bay. When showering or bathing, always gently pat the skin dry, don’t rub, and always follow with a an emollient moisturizer like this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream.

Aside from staying hydrated, it’s also important to shower immediately after exercising. Whether you’re playing with kids outside or going to a spinning class, it’s important to gently wipe sweat off as soon as possible. Sodium from sweat can cause further irritation to the skin.

Another important tip for dealing with eczema and sweat is opting for moisture wicking clothing that can easily absorb sweat and keep the skin dry. By choosing the right type of clothing, you can minimize skin irritation as the body rises in temperature.

Because eczema can be induced by several allergies and irritants, it’s important to avoid clothing that contains nylon, spandex, latex and more. Although a little pricier, opting for clothing that is specifically tailored for skin conditions is a great idea. Not only do these garments reduce the severity of conditions like atopic dermatitis, but they can drastically reduce itching and infection. Not only do they protect the skin from scratching, but they can also reduce chaffing which is so common during long, hot summer days.

One clothing brand to keep an eye on is Remedywear – clothing for eczema. These garments are made with both TENCEL™ and anti-bacterial zinc that calms skin. They also naturally wick moisture to target sweat induced flares. In a clinical study [4],this blend of fabric and zinc was proven to reduce the severity of atopic dermatitis, reduce itchiness and improve quality of sleep when worn overnight for three consecutive nights.

For eczema that’s on the chest, back, arms or stomach, take a look at this unisex Remedywear Long Sleeve Eczema Shirt for adults. Not only is this shirt moisture wicking, but it can be worn as an undershirt for a day at work or to bed as a pajama top for night relief.

For leg, calves, thighs, hips or buttocks eczema, make sure to check out these unisex Remedywear Eczema Pants for adults that can be worn as a layer underneath jeans or pants during the day or like the shirt above, as pajamas.

Lastly, to help spot treat sweat induced eczema, check out these Remedywear Eczema Sleeves and Bands (for babies all the way up to adults) that are perfect for treating elbows, knees, arms and legs. Like the garments mentioned above, these can be worn in the day (or during exercise) to keep sweat from irritating affected skin.

Psst…our owner Jennifer uses these bands on her son’s knees when he’s playing soccer! Due to his pollen allergies, the creases behind his knees become extremely inflamed and itchy during the summer months, actually a type of contact dermatitis from pollen combined with traditional allergies. When he wears these and keeps his knees covered up, he experiences zero flares! These garments are perfect for seasonal allergies, as they will keep skin covered and protected by irritants in the air.

Hesitant because of contact or textile dermatitis? These Remedywear garments were made with irritants and allergies in mind. All clothing is chemical free and hypoallergenic. They are also completely free of latex, nylon, nickel, formaldehyde, and use an allergy free safe dye (disperse dye free, phenylenediamine free).

By using garments like those mentioned above, staying well hydrated and keeping the affected area cool and protected, odds for heat induced flare ups are significantly decreased.

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For more tips on how to control your eczema during the summer months, check out our blog post: Summer Eczema: The Ultimate Care Guide.

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Are humidity and eczema and sweat your nemesis? Let us know how you keep your skin protected below!

Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

References

[1] Hide M, Tanaka T, Yamamura Y, et al. IgE-mediated hypersensitivity against human sweat antigen in patients with atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol.2002;82(5):335-340; PMID: 12430731

[2] Chrostowska-Plak D, Salomon J, Reich A, et al. Clinical aspects of itch in adult atopic dermatitis patients. Acta Derm Venereol.2009;89(4):379-383; PMID: 19688150

[3] Sulzberger MB, Herrmann F, Morrill SD, et al. Studies of sweat, lipids, and histopathology in children with dry skin (xerosis). Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol.1959;14(3-4):129-143; PMID: 13640734

[4] Wiegand, 2013, Skin-protective effects of a zinc oxide-functionalized textile and its relevance for atopic dermatitis. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol; 6: 115–121.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3656624/

1 Comment

  1. Anonymouse on July 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    During humid heatwaves and for exercise, I find that putting antiperspirant on my crease areas (under and behind neck, inside elbows, behind knees) reduces sweat, irritation and itchiness in those areas. I don’t apply it to areas where heat rash has already developed or skin is irritated. Tom’s of Maine makes an antiperspirant/deodorant for women, made with natural fragrance, less chemicals (than other antiperspirants), and recycled aluminum (for lower carbon footprint).

    The skin under the antiperspirant does get dry after a while (also from lack of humidity in air conditioning) so I do put a (base) layer of moisturizing lotion before and in between antiperspirant applications. Some light exfoliation, with a loofah or shower pouf, while showering is also needed to remove antiperspirant completely and clean the skin.

    Sometimes, white marks from the deodorant appear on my dark clothing (inside collars, on cuffs- from rolling up sleeves) but using a dry cosmetic sponge or dish sponge can brush them out. But this is an improvement from when I used to sprinkle baby powder on my crease areas and powder residue would get everywhere- on the floor, white fingerprints on dark clothes. I even found white fingerprints on the shoulders of all my clothes in the closet from thumbing through them!

    I also use body wipes after exercise to cool down and wipe sweat away, especially from my crease areas. Some have menthol in them which feels extra cooling.

    These remedies weren’t recommended by a medical professional. Just hacks that I found work for me as a four decade long sufferer of eczema. Best of luck to all!

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