During hot, humid summers my eczema flares up for outdoor exercise. The heat and sweat forces me back into the gym because I start itching. Since I do not plan on giving up exercise I found that reducing stress, different clothing materials and changing my hygiene products are the best way to minimize itchy, eczema flare-ups. Although I can’t change the itching during exercise I can alleviate the itching with preventative care before and after.
De-stress to make a difference difference
Stress is induced by many factors such as family problems, financial difficulties, work environments, school environments and more. Stress causes people to act out of the ordinary, but that’s one reason why I won’t stop exercising. As much as I am irritated by eczema, exercise keeps my stress levels lower.
Reducing exercise because of eczema is counterproductive, since studies show eczema flare-ups are increased by stress. Use exercise as a tool to de-stress to keep itchy flare-ups to a minimum.
Keep the skin dry during workouts
Keeping the sweat off my neck and hairline also helps fight itching. Keeping a towel close by to wipe off sweat during exercise keeps me from scratching profusely. Eczema is common at the elbows, knees and hands; however, it occurs in various places for each person, but keeping these areas dry during workouts can decrease itching.
Clothing materials with wool and polyester
Obviously during the summer I do not wear wool clothes, but certain clothing materials make me very hot and itch no matter what time of the year. Polyester is one of them, and I steer clear of any clothing made of polyester or wool.
Clothing styles affect my eczema, too. Eczema is along my neckline so I stick to lower cut tank tops made of cotton while exercising .
Use sulftate-free hygiene products
Excessive showering from exercise causes my eczema to dry and crack badly, and to decrease itchy flare-ups I switched to sulfate-free soaps and shampoos. The common skin irritants are ammonium laurel sulfate [ALS] and sodium laurel sulfate [SLS]. These cheap surfactants are in everything from shampoos to liquid soaps to regular household cleaning products. After switching to sulfafe-free shampoo and soaps my itchy flare-ups decreased significantly.
Sulfate-free shampoos are more expensive, but are available at local drugstores. Some examples are Repute Organics, Burt’s Bee’ and L’Oreal. Laundry detergents have SLS or ALS, but using an allergy free type and double rinsing the clothes can help exercise and minimize itchy eczema flare-ups.