The lights and smell of Christmas trees make the holidays come alive. But sap, pollen, spores, and mold found on trees can cause allergic reactions, according to Lauren Browne, M.D., and increase the chance of an eczema flare.
What you can do: Rinse off the tree with the garden hose, if you can. When dry, wipe the trunk with a diluted bleach mixture. Wear gloves when handling and decorating the tree. If you use an artificial tree, be sure to rinse it off first to get rid of dust and mold.
Keeping your house warm and toasty dries out the air in your home, and that dries out your skin and can cause an eczema flare, according to the National Eczema Association.
What you can do: Lower the temperature in the house a few degrees and use a humidifier. When spending time indoors, in your house or others’, position yourself away from radiators, fireplaces, and heat vents.
What better way to bring the smell of the holidays into your home than scented candles? But burning scented candles may irritate your skin and cause an eczema flare, especially if you are sensitive to fragrances.
What you can do: Choose plant-based candles, such as soy candles, which may reduce your skin irritation.
If you or your children like to dress up for the holidays, you might be tempted to buy sparkly or glittery outfits. But beware; many of these holiday outfits are made from synthetic materials, and the glitter and other decorative touches can scratch your skin.
What you can do: Look for clothes made with natural fabrics. If you can wear jewelry, brighten up the outfit with a statement necklace. Focus on your comfort rather than looking festive.
There are many indulgent, rich foods at holiday meals. Foods made with refined sugars, nuts, and gluten can trigger an eczema flare in some people. You might be able to get around this during dinner, but dessert time is much harder.
What you can do: Bring your own dessert. You probably have a favorite dessert that satisfies your cravings without triggering eczema. Bring it along to festivities so you know there is a delicious dessert waiting for you.
When visiting friends and relatives, or attending a holiday party, you might find the air too warm and dry. You can try to make sure you aren’t positioned close to a heat source, but it also helps to have moisturizer with you.
What you can do: Keep a travel size of your favorite moisturizer with you. If you can’t find a travel-size container of your favorite kind, purchase an empty travel-size container and fill it with your moisturizer to have it on hand no matter where you are.
In many parts of the country, the holidays come with cold weather. The dry, cold air and wind can dry out your skin quickly. Cold weather and dry skin are common eczema flare triggers, according to the National Eczema Association.
What you can do: Cover up exposed parts of your skin when outdoors. Wear soft gloves and a scarf to protect your hands, neck, and face from the biting wind and cold temperatures.
Stress is a common trigger for eczema, and the holidays tend to be filled with stressful days. For some people, existing eczema symptoms worsen during times of stress, according to the National Eczema Association.
What you can do: Plan ahead to avoid crowds when shopping, or do most of your shopping online. Create a daily schedule to help you minimize the feeling of chaos. Set aside time each day to unwind and take care of yourself by eating healthy and getting enough sleep.
If you have sensitive skin or are sensitive to perfumes, hugging others may trigger an eczema flare. During family gatherings, you might be overwhelmed by relatives wanting to give you a hug.
What you can do: Be forthright and let others know that you prefer not to hug. If necessary, explain why and greet your friends and relatives with a bright smile and enthusiastic conversation.
For some people, consuming alcoholic drinks triggers a flare. It might be from the alcohol drying out your skin or the stress on your body caused by drinking and recovering from drinking.
What you can do: Drink moderately. Try to drink a glass of water after each drink to help reduce the chances of dehydration.