12 Tips for Preventing or Reducing Autumn Eczema Flares

Autumn Skin Tips

In New Zealand a change in the season and cooler weather can bring a whole new set of challenges to eczema sufferers. Cold, dry weather saps skin of essential moisture and can cause serious issues for skin that is already compromised. Itching and inflammation can lead to a breakdown in our body’s main line of defence, our protective skin barrier.

Allergies are common in Autumn and can trigger eczema and asthma flare-ups. Mould and pollen are very common allergies linked to asthma and eczema and with the leaves from the trees falling and decaying in the autumnal months, the mould spores in the air can be much higher than the rest of the year. Weed pollen is also common during the cooler seasons.

Autumn’s shift in weather to cooler dryer days with less humidity can leave our skin barrier compromised which can make skin more susceptible to moisture loss and sensitivity. Skin conditions like eczema and perioral dermatitis tend to flare up when we hit changes in the season as our skin starts to adjust to a different climate. This change within our skin can impair our barrier and leave our skin in distress as our natural moisturisation levels are impacted.


Reduce the use of any overly active serums. Instead, reach for your hydrating moisturisers, oils and ointments. Switching to a physical sunscreen instead of your usual lighter summer one can work as a barrier cream to help keep the skin moisturised for longer. Make sure when changing products the ingredients are skin sensitive and always patch test anything new first.


Avoid wearing heating synthetic fabrics. Choose clothing made of natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo or silk to avoid irritation. Also, the fibres of some wool garments can be rough and abrasive, and when they come into contact with the skin, they can cause itching and redness, which can exacerbate eczema symptoms. If this type of wool must be worn, it’s best to layer it over a soft cotton or silk fabric to create a barrier between the wool and the skin. However, there are now some merino wool fabrics which have been designed after extensive research which are suitable for eczema sufferers – for more information visit www.woolmark.com/industry/research/wool-eczema.

Outdoor environments

Avoid going near areas that are likely to be infested with mould; for instance places with heavy vegetation, compost heaps or piles of fallen leaves. If you must do a bit of gardening, wearing a mask will help keep the allergens at bay. Wear long sleeves, and pants to protect your skin from environmental triggers. Despite falling humidity, mould may still infest nooks and crannies in your home such as the kitchen or bathroom. Regular cleaning and ventilation will help keep these areas mould-free.

Manage your indoor environment

While you don’t have control of the weather and temperatures outside, you can control the temperature in your home. Not overheating your home and drying out the air by using a humidifier can help keep reduce the chance of a flare up.

Avoid over-washing & frequently washing your hands

Your hands can become dry, chapped and cracked during the cooler weather. Limit washing your hands to when it is necessary as over-washing or scrubbing your skin can cause your skin to dry out and crack. Use soap free hand wash or moisturiser and apply moisturiser straight after washing your hands. If your hands do become dry, use a thick cream or ointment moisturiser before bedtime and wear cotton or bamboo gloves while you are sleeping to help seal in the moisture. Apply your moisturiser straight after a shower or bath to help seal in the moisture from the water. If you have eczema on your hands, wear gloves when washing dishes or doing other activities that can irritate your skin.

Tough Lips

If your lips are dry, irritated, or chapped, defend them from external wind and weather with a healing lip balm.

Lower the temperature in your shower or bath

Limit showering/bathing to 5 to 10 minutes and use warm, not hot, water. Hot water can dry out the skin and help cause cracking. Use a soap free cleanser or hypoallergenic shower/bath oil that is less likely to irritate sensitive skin.

Know your triggers

Not everyone has the same triggers for eczema. Pay attention to what in your environment might cause a flare. By understanding your triggers, you can take steps to prevent the flare.

Wear layers

During a transition from one season to another, weather can be unpredictable. For example, it might be cold in the morning but warm by afternoon, or it could be nice in the morning and later be windy and cold. Instead of dressing only for the morning, wear layers and add or take off a layer depending on the temperature throughout the day.

Use sun protection

Summer might be over but there are still dangerous UV rays that can cause a sunburn or irritate your skin. Apply suitable sunscreen every morning before leaving the house.

Drink plenty of water

As the weather cools, you might not feel thirsty but your body still needs water. Staying hydrated helps keep your skin moisturised.

Treat flare ups promptly

When you notice the first signs of an eczema flare, treat it accordingly. Use topical steroids and moisturisers to manage the itch and discomfort and continue treating it until it is completely healed.

Sometimes eczema flares up and causes intense inflammation, itching and irritation that over-the-counter products can’t remedy. It’s time to consult your dermatologist, allergy and asthma specialist or your family doctor. You may need a prescription medication to help treat and heal your eczema.

This article was obtained from the following sources:

This Information Sheet is provided as a service by the Eczema Association of New Zealand Inc to give up-to-date, practical help on certain types of eczema or a particular aspect of its treatment. These sheets are part of our membership package.

It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of New Zealand Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment. It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.