Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeping Cool With Eczema

Summer Tips for Atopic Skin

I'll be honest. Summer has never been one of my favourite seasons. I'm not a big fan of heat in general. I have no reason to tan, since I've got a built-in self-tanner. Most importantly, I have eczema. My skin doesn't respond well to heat and I'm a bit self-conscious about my skin. Most of my body isn't one colour due to the trauma of eczema. I have areas of hyperpigmentation (lots of pigment and therefore quite dark) and depigmentation (almost no pigment and therefore very white). Plus, shaving isn't always my best friend and can sometimes be an eczema trigger.

However, after all these years, I've found some ways of managing it. I will admit that it's probably easier for girls than boys, simply because girls wear a lot of different styles that men generally don't. However, men don't have to worry about shaving their legs.

Tip 1: Keep it sheer. A tank top covered by a loose, sheer long-sleeved top is a great way to keep cool and covered. Since too much sun exposure is damaging for everyone, this is a great option for anyone, eczema or not.

Tip 2: Skirts & Dresses. No matter the length, these are a great way to get through the summer months. Right now, I've worked my way up to wearing knee-length skirts and dresses, but I have a great collection of calf-length and ankle-length. The latter is great for days when shaving is just not an option.

Tip 3: Linen pants. A pair of loose-fitting linen pants is also an unshaved leg's best friend. If your skin is acting up, it's also not irritating to the skin. The only thing is that linen is incredibly flammable; so, keep away from bonfires.

Tip 4: Light fabrics. Cotton is one of the best fabrics for atopic skin. Thin weaves allow the most breathability, while still feeling comfortable. So, when you're shopping for summer clothes, ditch the heavy cotton shirts and find something light.

Tip 5: Accept what you have. I have very noticeable pigmentation issues on my elbows. Those are never going to go away. Plus, I recently developed keratosis pilaris on my upper arms, a formerly eczema-free zone. However, there is no way I'm going to give up t-shirts or sleeveless shirts. It's not worth it to me.

Tip 6: Skincare. In addition to your existing skincare regime, use sunscreen (physical, not chemical) and take a water mister with you. Sweat irritates atopic skin and a thorough misting with cool water can really help. I use Avène Thermal Spring Water. Throughout the summer, it's part of my allergy/atopy kit.

Do you have tips to get through summer with your skin intact? Let me know in the comments!


  1. A great review - thank you Atopic Girl!
    Not being able to wear what one wants is reported regularly in clinic as an important big negative Quality of Life factor for both men and women with chronic atopic eczema, especially in the summer. Fortunately this can be successfully tackled by many, using the behavioural (CBT) programme called "The Combined Approach".
    For details visit - the online community for practitioners and patients.

  2. Hi,
    How do I contact you regarding a product review? Dermasilk Canada would like to have you review our product for the management of eczema. Here is another review that was done last year.
    Please contact us at for more info on the product.

    1. Hi, You can contact me at atopicgirl at yahoo dot ca.