Eczema is a skin condition that can undoubtedly cause embarrassment. The unfortunate truth is that there are few to no real cures for eczema. And, the triggers of the condition are not clearly known. They tend to vary from one sufferer to the next. Suffice to say, if you’re suffering from eczema, you’ll have to experiment with it as you go. This will ensure that you’re able to find out what causes your condition to flare up and what makes it better.
Now for the matter at hand, does the sun make eczema worse? You’ll find out in the thorough article I’ve written below. Read on!
First and foremost, it is vital to learn a little more about the basics of eczema. If you know nothing about the condition, you’re not going to know what could cause it to intensify. The condition is primarily associated with patches of skin that have become itchy, red, cracked and inflamed. In some rare cases, there is a possibility that the skin will develop blisters. While some patients will eventually “outgrow” eczema, others will suffer from the problem for the rest of their lives. And, it is important to understand that there are different types.
The things that could cause a flare up really depend on the type of eczema that you’re dealing with. More about the two most common types will be explored in greater depth below.
If you’d like to know more about all 7 types of eczema, please check out this really in-depth article I’ve written here.
Atopic Dermatitis & Sunlight
The most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, has been related to hay fever and asthma. It is so common because it is hereditary. This basically means that anyone with a family history is at risk. Typically diagnosed in childhood and infancy, atopic dermatitis is known to affect the face, feet, hands, back of the knees and inner elbows.
Irritants, such as those found in soaps, laundry detergents and dishwashing liquids, have shown to cause atopic dermatitis. Other factors include rough clothing, foods and dust mites. With so many treatments available, people with atopic dermatitis can relieve their symptoms, while reducing outbreaks. One of the most commonly prescribed treatments for atopic dermatitis is steroidal creams. Non-steroidal creams are also prescribed to treat this form of eczema.
Individuals looking for a more natural treatment should consider light therapy. Unlike other skin conditions, atopic dermatitis can be treated effectively with ultraviolet light. Medical experts believe that sun exposure can enhance vitamin D production, which in turn can help ease the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
Some dermatologists will combine a drug known as psoralen and ultraviolet light to treat atopic dermatitis. This combination works extremely well. In fact, it works better than utilizing the treatments alone. Ultraviolet light derives from both natural and artificial sources. However, it is highly recommended to stick with natural sources, such as the sun, to treat atopic dermatitis. When utilizing artificial sources, such as tanning beds, it is crucial to keep your exposure to a minimum. Work with your dermatologist or physician to avoid the risk of premature aging and skin cancer, when utilizing artificial sources to treat your condition.
Contact Dermatitis & Sunlight
Another very common type of eczema is contact dermatitis. This form of eczema is most often related to chemical exposure. These irritants can be found in harsh soaps, cosmetics, and dishwashing liquids. Unlike some other forms of eczema, contact dermatitis is not often treated with ultraviolet light or vitamin D supplements.
Physicians typically recommend avoiding further contact with any substance that triggers an outbreak. Of course, not everyone with contact dermatitis knows exactly what caused their condition. In this case, the physician will recommend switching products with potential trigger substances to less harsh and safer alternatives. People working in the hospitality industry may not be able to avoid these exposures. In these cases, it is highly recommended to wear protective equipment, such as rubber gloves.
Avoiding contact combined with steroidal creams and moisturizers is a great way to treat contact dermatitis. Exposure to sunlight could possibly cause an outbreak, which is the exact opposite effect of atopic dermatitis.
What Causes Flare-Ups?
As someone who is suffering from eczema, you’ll want to know exactly what causes flare-ups. Once you’ve identified potentially problematic activities, foods, and environments, you’ll be able to avoid them to prevent your eczema from spiraling out of control. So, what causes eczema to worsen? The truth of the matter is that plenty of things can trigger the problem. Believe it or not, there are certain foods that can intensify the symptoms of eczema. Nuts and dairy tend to be very problematic for sufferers dealing with this skin condition.
You should also realize that eczema can be triggered by many environmental factors. Smoke and pollen tend to be the most common. Depending on the specific type of eczema that you have, there is also a chance that the sun and heat will cause it to worsen significantly.
The Sun Could Help
The truth of the matter is that the sun can work in both ways. In some cases, it is actually going to help the patient. In other cases, it is going to cause the symptoms to worsen. The studies offer conflicting evidence. However, there is at least one study that claims that sun exposure could potentially help atopic dermatitis. Why? The truth of the matter is that the reason is not completely clear. However, it is believed that Vitamin D may have something to do with it. After all, natural sun exposure will actually increase the production of Vitamin D in the skin.
Eczema Sufferers who acquire Vitamin D supplements will be able to increase their production of cathelicidin. That is vitally important, because this protein actually protects the skin against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Suffice to say, it could also help prevent the symptoms associated with eczema. Patients dealing with eczema should definitely experiment with additional sun exposure. It could be the answer that they’ve been looking for. Other sufferers may actually experience more serious symptoms with extra exposure to the sun.
Too Much Sun
It is undoubtedly true that too much of a good thing can become problematic. This is something that eczema sufferers need to take very seriously. As mentioned above, there is a good chance that the sun can be very beneficial to you. However, you need to understand that there is a fine line between a sufficient amount of sun exposure and too much sun exposure. If you’re crossing that line and getting too much sun, there is a good chance that your condition is going to worsen significantly.
If you’re sitting in the sun too long, your skin is going to dry out. In return, that is going to make your eczema symptoms much worse. Getting some exposure is good. Just make sure that you do not overdo it.
Natural Sun Versus Tanning Salons
It is essential to understand that there is a big difference between the sun and the artificial light produced in tanning salons. Those differences could make a big difference for people dealing with eczema. If you have eczema, you might receive benefits from the sun. However, there is a good chance that the light produced in tanning salons will cause the symptoms to worsen. Too much sun exposure is definitely bad. However, tanning salons are even worse.
If you have eczema, you should avoid too much sun exposure and you should stay out of the tanning salons. Otherwise, your skin is going to become cracked and scaly. Also, remember that those tanning salons are dangerous anyway. They can greatly increase your risk of developing cancer and they’ve been linked to premature aging.
At the end of the day, there are few to no real cures for eczema. With that being said, you will only be able to manage the symptoms. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to keep the symptoms under control until you’re able to “outgrow” it completely. So by this point, if you’re still wondering, does the sun make eczema worse? It really depends on your unique situation. There is also a chance that changing your diet will make a difference. There are specific foods that can inflame the skin. You should also make changes to your daily activities.
Avoid overexposure to the skin and be sure to limit your time in the bath or shower. It is also a good idea to pamper your skin daily. Rubbing an ointment or cream on the skin can make a big difference in the long run. You should also do your best to avoid scratching the skin. You should keep your fingernails very short. Another Alternative, you should think about consuming an antihistamine when the skin becomes very itchy. If worse comes to worse, you should try using a topical steroid.
Over time, you’ll eventually learn how to control your condition and prevent the symptoms from spiraling out of control.
Get Your Doctor’s Advice
At the end of the day, eczema is a very unique condition. Its symptoms and causes can vary significantly from one sufferer to the next. Therefore, nobody will know your eczema better than you and your doctor. With this in mind, you should never take responsibility into your own hands. Before increasing your intake of Vitamin D or getting additional sun exposure, you should speak with your primary physician. This is the best way to ensure that you’re not going to cause the condition to worsen unnecessarily.
Please leave a comment below & let me know how your skin has reacted to sun/light exposure? I would love to hear about your experience!