The skin of many people with eczema improves in the spring and summer months. This is often due to the effects of natural sunlight – although it’s still important to protect the skin from harmful rays!
Where sunscreens are concerned, we recommend trying an unfragranced, broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB protector), mineral-based sunscreen. Sunscreens can be divided into organic (chemical) UV absorbers or inorganic (mineral-based, i.e. containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) UV reflectors. Many people with eczema find that mineral-based sunscreens are less irritating to their skin than chemical absorbers. For more sunscreen information, please see our Sun and eczema factsheet.
Different types of pollen can cause problems for people at different times of the year. Tree pollen season tends to be from March to May. Common symptoms of pollen allergy are a runny nose, sneezing and swollen eyes – known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Most people with atopic eczema find that their skin is not really affected by the pollen season. If your skin is affected, here are some tips:
- Limit exposure on days where the pollen count is high by staying indoors and steering clear of known allergens when you can.
- Always have your eczema treatments readily available (take them with you when you go out) as tackling a flare-up quickly is imperative.
- You may also need to take an oral antihistamine (medication that helps suppress the body’s release of histamine in response to an allergen). The ‘non-drowsy’ kind can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of allergy throughout the body, including the eyes, nose and skin. The sedating antihistamine can also be useful in helping to prevent night-time scratching.
- If you’ve been doing something outdoors that might have brought you into contact with pollen, then a shower and change of clothes will remove any pollen particles you’ve inadvertently attracted.
- If you have pets, pollen is easily transmitted into the home and onto your skin via their fur. Cleaning and brushing their coats – or better still, asking someone who does not suffer from allergy to do this! – and banishing your furry friends from certain rooms, is therefore a good idea.