For those living with eczema, the heat of the summer can cause itchy, uncomfortable skin flare-ups.
Medical experts stress that people living with eczema need to be vigilant about managing flares, especially when spending time in the sun on hot, dry days.
For people living with eczema, sunburns can not only further damage the delicate skin barrier, but also cause an acute worsening of inflammation in the skin as the body tries to heal itself from sun-induced injury.
The middle of the summer is a time for barbecues, picnics, family reunions, and beachside vacations.
For those with chronic skin condition eczema, this season might be marked less by fun in the sun, and instead by itchy, uncomfortable skin flare-ups.
Why might people with eczema be particularly prone to flares during the summertime? Eczema is highly variable by person, and a range of factors from geography to environmental changes can play a role in just how it might affect you during the summer.
When we talk about eczema, we’re most commonly referring to atopic dermatitis, defined by inflamed, irritated, and itchy patches of skin that often come with a reddish rash. It can affect a range of ages, from newborns to older adults, age 65 and beyond.
It’s found in 1 out of every 10 Americans, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
During the summer months, eczema might not be as bad for people who live in more humid climates.
This is due to the fact that warmer temperatures and added humidity might actually “provide some much needed moisture to eczema-prone skin,” said Dr. Teo Soleymani, health sciences clinical instructor in dermatologic surgery at UCLA Health.
In these areas, “summer can often exacerbate the condition, as the dry heat dehydrates the skin, often causing flares,” Soleymani told Healthline.
“Moreover, as summer rolls around and people spend more time outdoors, overexposure to the sun and sunburns are a time-tested validation of summer’s arrival.”
He added that “sunburns are terrible for patients with eczema as they not only further damage the delicate skin barrier, but also cause an acute worsening of inflammation in the skin as the body tries to heal itself from sun-induced injury.”
Soleymani said that, due to this, eczema flares often occur after sunburns, lasting longer than usual while your skin tries to heal itself. Dr. Annabelle Garcia, a San Antonio, Texas, board certified dermatologist with her own practice.