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Along with pumpkin-spiced lattes, cozy apparel and apple-picking dates, fall often means the onset of new skin issues.
One common skin issue among adults is eczema. According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31 million Americans have some form of eczema, which can be caused by a family history of eczema, environmental triggers — many of which pop up in fall — and stress.
With October recognized as National Eczema Awareness Month, Glossy spoke with dermatologist Dr. David Kim, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of the skin-care brand Lightsaver, to learn more about the condition and the best products for relief.
“Eczema is a genetic condition where people have abnormalities in the genes that are important for skin barrier formation and function,” he said. “This leads to increased sensitivity and a compromised skin barrier that predisposes the skin to be more prone to an allergic reaction and damage.”
Though eczema flare-ups can happen spontaneously, extended exposure to dry air, extreme heat and cold are identified as common triggers. Flare-ups are best described as experiencing one or more acute symptoms or side effects from prolonged itchiness. According to Dr. Kim, if you’re experiencing dry, itchy or scaly patches on the face, arms or back of the legs due to changes in the weather, it may be the result of an active flare-up. However, he recommended seeking a medical diagnosis.
While there is currently no cure for eczema, Dr. Kim said a few key ingredients and products can potentially help relieve itchy skin and other bothersome symptoms.
“Products with ceramides and lipids are very helpful. They will help restore the skin and repair the skin barrier so it’s not as sensitive or susceptible to irritants,” he said. “I highly recommend creams, not lotions. They’re much more hydrating and effective.”
Secondly, he recommended ointments like Vaseline and Aquaphor to help lock in moisture. And finally, he said sunscreen is important to keep the skin protected throughout the year. “Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are less irritating to the skin and well tolerated,” he said.
As for what products to avoid, Dr. Kim said those with fragrance, color, high percentages of AHA or high percentages of retinol can often exacerbate eczema.
With the temperatures beginning to drop, consider getting ahead of any potential skin irritations now. Dr. Kim shared his top recommendations for moisturizers that will also provide relief as we transition into the cooler season.
Shop expert-approved body creams to stay moisturized and itch-free below.
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