If you’re among the estimated 22 percent of Canadians with eczema, you may be feeling the effects of The Year of Handwashing. Between the suds, sanitizing, stress and extreme weather—all common irritants—this winter is the perfect cocktail for flare-ups.
According to Pfizer Canada and Angus Reid, more than half of Canadians diagnosed with eczema manage symptoms with prescription ointment, but preventive measures can go a long way, too. “For some patients, managing it with skincare alone is sufficient,” says Dr. Sonya Abdulla, a Toronto-based dermatologist.
Her advice for winter under COVID? Avoid prolonged hot-water exposure (including steamy showers) and choose soaps and creams carefully. “You do not need to use an antimicrobial soap,” she stresses. Look for ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and hydrating glycerine and shea butter. Avoid fragrances, including essential oils, even if they’re labelled all-natural or organic—it’s possible for compromised skin barriers to develop allergies to them over time.