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I have struggled with eczema my entire life. I was that baby who wore mittens on their tiny hands to prevent myself from scratching my face throughout day and night. For me, eczema always worsens during winter because skin is just naturally drier.

After bottles of products, an allergy patch test, and many years, I’ve compiled some tips to help soothe the winter season eczema struggles.

Get a cosmetic allergy patch test

I went to a dermatologist (but you can also go to an allergy clinic) and they taped a sheet with over 30 different substances that are typically found in cosmetics like makeup, shampoo, soap, lotion, and even jewelry. Turns out I was severely allergic to tea tree oil, which had been in my shampoo for months and was causing me irritation on my scalp, neck, and back. If you tend to have sensitive skin, I highly recommend this. That way, when you’re searching for remedies, you won’t unintentionally worsen your skin by not being aware of an allergy.

Aquaphor is your BOF – Best Ointment Forever.

Because eczema tends to stem from dry, cracked, or irritated skin, you need something thick to lock in moisture and soothe the itching tendencies. Aquaphor can be heavy duty and greasy, so it’s best to use this before going to bed. If you despise the consistency of Aquaphor, like some do, it’s the perfect motivation not to scratch your affected area(s).

I was frustrated with how my prescription eczema cream would create really light patches on my tan complexion, so I stopped using it all together and replaced it with Aquaphor instead. Call me crazy, but I applied Aquaphor every night for two years straight and it almost kicked my eczema into permanent hibernation. I would get flare-ups every now and then, but the daily itchiness halted after I did this.

This isn’t sponsored, I swear. I just love the stuff and still use it to this day. If you are looking for a great all-natural alternative, try Egyptian Magic.

Vanicream is your holy grail eczema kkincare line

Vanicream is fragrance-free and free of dyes, parabens, lanolin, formaldehyde, and gluten. They make all sorts of products like body lotion (in thick and light options), sunscreen, facial cleanser, deodorants, and even a hydrocortisone cream. I use their facial cleaner and their skin cream daily and use the hydrocortisone for delicate areas like above my eyelids.

Do your own research with natural remedies

Due to my bad luck, I cannot use diluted tea tree oil to treat eczema symptoms because I am allergic to it. But perhaps there’s a more natural alternative out there for you! I tried turmeric (drinking turmeric tea, eating turmeric with meals, using it as a face mask) and that did zilch for me, but it might be a miracle worker for you! Just be careful about choosing trustworthy sources on the internet and buying your ingredients from reputable places.

If all else fails, get a prescription eczema topical treatment

Some of these can be costly, but depending on your insurance plan, it should cover the majority of the cost. My cream is great for small patches of eczema because it decreases the inflammation and itching almost instantly. For larger areas, I use a spray of a similar medication. If possible, use these sparingly because they could drastically lighten the skin tone of only the affected area. And don’t forget to always follow up with moisturizer.

Keep in mind, I’m not a dermatologist. This is just what worked for me considering that I’m allergic to more than 80% of skin and cosmetic products they sell at the drugstore. I highly recommend you consult a medical professional if it begins affecting your daily life. Just know that if you struggle with eczema, psoriasis, or any other skin ailment, you are not the only one!

Caitlyn is a third-year student at UC Davis. She is studying Information & Communication Technology and English, with a minor in Computer Science. You can find her conducting Picnic Day board meetings as Vice Chair, working on code for research projects, downing an iced black tea and enjoying a good book.
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