In the UK, one in 12 adults – or approximately 15 million people – suffer from eczema.
The condition triggers symptoms including itchy, red, dry and cracked skin.
According to the NHS, sufferers often have skin that is unable to retain moisture, meaning it is more easily irritated.
While people may suffer at any time of year, winter can bring with it a range of factors that can trigger a flare-up.
Here are six common eczema causes to look out for.
“The cold winter months might make it tempting to turn up the heat when it comes to bathing, showering and hand-washing, but try to refrain from doing this, since the mixture of hot water and cold temperatures can leave your skin feeling raw and exposed,” said Dr Adam Friedmann, Surcare and Harley Street dermatologist.
“Aim to bathe in lukewarm water to keep the temperature differences to a minimum. When drying your skin, pat until dry with a soft towel (rather than rubbing) and moisturise immediately, as this will help keep skin moist and reduce the chances of triggering an eczema flare up.
“I suggest using bath oils in the bath and emollients to wash the skin with rather than soaps, as these can be an irritant.”
“One of the most common eczema irritants is central heating, which affects our skin in the same way that air conditioning does — by removing the air of any moisture that dries our skin out,” said Dr Friedmann.
“These dry air environments which we surround ourselves in, particularly in winter, can increase the chances of a flare up.
“Try using a thick moisturiser every morning and evening to keep your skin nourished throughout the day, whilst also drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.”
“The cold weather often means we’re drawn to wearing thick woolly or fleece jumpers,” said Dr Friedmann.
“However, synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon and rayon, which are commonly found in our clothing, can cause us to sweat more, which irritates eczema-prone skin.
“Try wearing clothes made from natural materials such as cotton, which will allow the skin to breathe and be less likely to become irritated.”
“When washing your clothes, think gentle. Our garments constantly come into contact with your skin and certain chemicals used in laundry detergents can contribute to eczema flare ups,” said Dr Friedmann.
“Try washing clothes with dermatologically-friendly washing powders, such as Surcare, which is free from unnecessary ingredients such as enzymes, dyes, acids or fragrances, and is much less likely to cause skin irritation.”
“Household cleaning products, including liquids and sprays, can irritate the skin causing a type of eczema called irritant contact dermatitis (ICD),” said Dr Friedmann.
“According to the National Eczema Society, people with a history of atopic eczema are more likely to have sensitive skin and are therefore more prone to ICD.
“Try gentle versions of cleaners, go for more ‘natural’ cleaning solutions such as white vinegar, or wear gloves to minimise contact.
“Dust mites can also trigger eczema, so try damp dusting to get rid of the dust instead of just moving it around.”
“The cold elements outside can leave many of us with a runny nose or even a winter cold, which often leaves us blowing or wiping our nose, said Dr Friedmann.
“This repetitive action can leave your skin feeling irritated and can trigger an eczema flare up.
“Try using a greasier emollient when moisturising your face, to help protect your skin from nose blowing.”