Words by Siraad Dirshe
Photography by Aundre Larrow

When it comes to complaining about your passive aggressive co-workers or getting a full-recap of last night’s game, your homies are who you turn to. But some things, like how to help soothe dry itchy skin, you may not feel as comfortable asking your boys about. But hey, that’s why we’re here.

So if you do in fact have severely dry itchy skin (it’s most likely eczema), don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered. For advice on how to keep eczema flare-ups to a minimum this winter we turned to Dr. Debra Jaliman, who suffers from the skin condition herself and even created a gentle cleanser especially for eczema, Sea Radiance Gentle Cleaner.

According to Dr. Jaliman, “eczema consists of dry patches which are very itchy. Those with eczema are missing essential components of the skin barrier and many with eczema also have other allergies.” It’s the skin’s inability to maintain moisture that causes dryness and the extreme itchiness eczema sufferers experience. It’s not at all contagious since the skin condition is hereditary. “Research has shown children who have one or both parents with eczema, or who have other siblings with eczema, are more likely to develop it themselves,” says the National Health Service.

So while you may not be able to prevent it, you certainly can treat it.

How You Shower Matters

We’ve already told you everything you need to know about how to properly cleanse but if you’ve got eczema you’ll want to keep these two things in mind during shower time. First, the soap you uses makes a difference. “Use a mild soap that’s for sensitive skin and avoid fragranced/deodorant soaps as they cause dryness,” Dr. Jaliman warns. Second, pay attention to the temperature of the water. “Use lukewarm water not hot water during the shower, since hot water pulls all the natural oil out of the skin.”

Don’t Skimp on the Moisturizer

BVLGARI 'Eau Parfumée au thé Vert' Body Lotion Product Image
On mornings when you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times and you’ve only got five minutes to get ready, it can be tempting to skip moisturizing your body. However, that’s a big no no for eczema sufferers. “Always use a moisturizer after cleansing,” says Dr. Jaliman. The best time to moisturize is right after a shower while the skin’s still damp to help trap in moisture, but really it can be done at any time. “Choose one with shea butter, hyaluronic acid, glycerin or ceramides,” the doctor suggests since these ingredients are super hydrating and nourishing for dry skin.

Invest in a Humidifier

As the temperature continues to dip, remember that the air can seriously deplete moisture from skin, which is terrible for eczema sufferers. So a humidifier, a device that increases humidity (moisture), is major key. Not only does it put moisture back into the air but it also helps to soothe dry, itchy, cracked skin. The doctor suggests, “using one when sleeping to help put moisture back into the skin.”

Keep Things Au Naturale

When it comes to anything that rubs against your skin, such as your sheets or beloved tees, it’s best to keep things au naturale. “Wear natural fibers like cotton near the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman, since synthetic materials like mohair are itchy and can aggravate eczema.