Christmas is a time that many eczema sufferers dread. Not because they do not like all the festivities (obviously), but because of potential problems associated with increased environmental exposure to the ever-present fragrance, fireside nights and central heating.
Christmas is a time when family and friends may call. We want the house to be clean, warm and smell nice. Sometimes our best efforts inadvertently pose challenges for people with eczema.
How clean is too clean?!
Cleaning products can act as irritants that may exacerbate eczema. Unfortunately the housework has to be done. So:
• choose non-fragranced cleaning products.
• avoid sprays and aerosols.
• always wear hypoallergenic gloves for housework.
Smells and bells
Fragrance is a very common trigger for contact allergy. At Christmas we need to be more mindful of potential exposure to the chemicals that make up artificial fragrances. We may think that fragrance is only in perfume, but it is hidden in cleaning products, cosmetics, candles and air-fresheners.
Candles and flares
Scented candles look nice and make the house smell pleasant, but they can cause burning, stinging and itching of the skin and irritate the eyes.
Plug in air-fresheners make the house smell fresh, but the fragrance emitted into the environment can be another trigger for an eczema flare.
Open fires, stoves and central heating
Central heating can be a major problem for drying the skin all year around, but at Christmas we’re often indoors for prolonged periods – and our can become very very dried out!
• Do not overheat the house.
• Consider turning the temperature down.
• Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.
New sparkly clothes??
Did Santa bring you something glitzy? Remember to choose your party clothes wisely.
• Choose natural breathable fabrics.
• Avoid wool and mohair.
• Sparkly clothes with sparkly fibres may irritate the skin.
• Try to avoid tight fitting synthetic fabrics that may overheat the skin and irritate it.
Presents for people with eczema
When buying presents for a friend or family member with eczema, avoid buying perfume or cosmetics unless you know they have used the product without any problems.
For more information about Atopic Dermatitis and Eczema, visit our Eczema page , or download our eczema booklet .If you need help or guidance about managing your eczema, contact the ISF Helpline or call (01) 486-6280.
To take part in our eczema survey click on “Living with Atopic Eczema & Eczema in Ireland”