Why You Don’t Need To Cover Your Eczema This Summer!

Why You Don’t Need To Cover Your Eczema This Summer!

It’s around this time of year when it’s getting warmer, hopefully sunnier, and people start shedding those winter layers. Everyones dressed in shorts and vest tops or dresses to beat the heat. When you have Eczema, this can be a stressful time as you realise that you might have to show a bit of skin. Either that or overheat yourself in your long sleeves and tights.

Why not pin it for later?

When I was younger, I was always very conscious of the way my skin looked. When it was flaring, it was red and angry. It would cover my face and my chest and I always had marks, scabs and sores running up and down my arms and legs. 

When it wasn’t actively flaring, I would be covered in flakes and have to brush down every surface I touched. Which naturally increased the more skin I had on show. 

So I dressed in layers and long sleeves. I wore tights and leggings in the height of summer. 

But you know what? We don’t need to do that. Those of us that are suffering with Eczema or any skin condition for that matter, should be able to have the same joys of summer that everyone else has!

Here’s some pretty good reasons why you don’t need to cover your Eczema during the summer.

Want to brush up on your Eczema knowledge? Check out CC’s Ultimate Guide To Itchy Skin!

Reason 1: Exposing your Eczema to the sun might actually do it some good!

For some people, letting your skin see the sun has actually shown to have some positive effects. I’ve seen a lot of people talk about how they went on holiday and their skin cleared right up (until they came back to the dreary skies of Britain of course). 

Now, I’m no doctor so I don’t know the ins and outs of why the sun can sometimes have this effect. What I do know is that it can often act as an anti-inflammatory which, as you might have guessed, reduces the inflammation of your skin. Sunshine is also good for encouraging vitamin D production. This helps boost your immune system and is just good for overall health! You can find out more about the how’s and why’s over on the National Eczema Association. They have some great information all about Eczema.

There is a caveat to this one, however. Not everyone with Eczema reacts well to the sun. For some, it can actually make it worse. So make sure to be aware of how your skin reacts before spending a few hours in the garden!

Reason 2: Summer clothes are normally made of more Eczema friendly materials

When you have Eczema, the best thing you can wear is cotton. It’s one of the best fabrics for minimising skin irritation and keeping your skin ventilated to avoid sweating. As summer comes round, everyone is looking for light, cool clothing to wear when it’s hot. Suddenly, everyone wants to minimise sweating! 

This means that a lot of ‘summer clothes’ are more likely to be made from light and breathable clothing – perfect for your skin! Cotton and linen are great examples. A nice, cool cotton tee or a flowy linen dress are great for Eczema sufferers in the summer. 

Why is this a good reason for you to resist covering your skin? Because it means you can wear whatever everyone else is wearing and not have to worry too much about irritation. Enjoy wearing those skin-friendly fabrics  – that can often be difficult to wear in the cooler months when you need more warmth.

Reason 3: Reduce sweating, reduce irritation

For me and my Eczema, sweat is very much one of our worst enemies. As soon as I get even a little sweaty, I’m itching like crazy and my skin feels like it’s burning up. 

When you have Eczema, sweat can increase fluid loss and so makes your skin drier. Not ideal when it’s reaching higher temperatures and you’re wearing a long sleeved top! 

It can also leave residue on the skin when it dries which causes irritation and increased itching. This is why it’s important that you wipe down or clean your skin if you’ve gotten a little sweaty. The less that’s left on your skin means hopefully there should be less irritation!

If you’re like me and struggle with sweat irritation, I would definitely recommend that you think about uncovering your skin. Free your skin from its sweaty confinement and let it breathe.

Reason 4: When you don’t cover your skin, you can moisturise to your heart’s content!

I don’t know about you guys, but there is no feeling in the world I hate more than fresh moisturiser being covered with clothes. It makes me cringe, it makes me want to cry, it is literally the worst.

The good thing about dressing with less layers and showing more skin? Easy access to apply your creams! You can just throw it on and relax as it soaks in. You don’t have to worry about it being absorbed into your clothes or wiped off when you put your trousers on. 

If you’re like me and have head to toe Eczema then obviously you won’t be able to moisturise everywhere without covering some of it – unless you’re walking around in the nude, which if you’re not in public, why not? 

But I love when I can wear shorts and a vest top or a dress. My arms, legs and my neck and chest are wide open, all ready to be moisturised without all the usual palaver.

Reason 5: Don’t be afraid of showing your Eczema

I know this one is a little ‘easy-for-you-to-say’ and trust me, I even thought that myself when I wrote it. I’ve been on that side of this where all I wanted to do was hide my skin away from the world. It’s only as I’ve got older that I’ve really worked up the confidence to say, screw it and just wear what I wanted, when I wanted. 

When you have Eczema, it can be easy to get stuck in the idea that everyone is looking at your skin. This is especially true if we’ve braved an item of clothing that maybe isn’t as concealing as what we’d normally wear. 

This is what I see when I look at this picture. The little scab wound on my forehead that wouldn’t heal. The bright red, inflamed cheeks. The raised and irritated dry patch on my neck. Things nobody else would even notice but I thought I should have them covered up.

The truth though? Almost nobody is looking at your skin. Thankfully, we’re all usually too absorbed in ourselves to notice much else. Okay, that’s a little harsh. But what I mean is that while you’re worrying about your friend seeing that patch of Eczema, they’re probably worrying about how their hair looks or if their outfit looks any good. 

We’ve all got stuff that we’re worried about other people noticing. 

The other good thing about wearing whatever you want to wear is the positive effect it can have on you mentally! 

When I would wear big hoodies or tights during the summer, it would make me feel really down. It served as a reminder that I couldn’t enjoy the summer like everyone else could (which I now know isn’t strictly true!).

Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in can have a huge impact on the way you feel. When you feel comfortable, you reduce your stress levels. This is great as stress can often be a trigger for Eczema. 

So in that spirit, wear the crop top you saw and instantly loved. Wear the shorts that make your butt look great. Don’t be afraid of wearing what you love just because you’re scared of what others might think of your skin. 

And if anyone does have anything to say about it? Not. Worth. Your. Time.

You can read more about the effects of Eczema on your mental health here: 5 Ways Eczema Can Affect Your Mental Health

That being said…

I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression from this. I’m not saying everybody should be showing tons of skin and lounging around in bikinis and short shorts. 

If you’re not comfortable showing your Eczema, you do not have to. Something I learnt over the years was that if I really felt super uncomfortable with my Eczema on show – even though I was wearing clothes I loved – I couldn’t relax. I would be using my hands to cover it up or trying to find ways to hide it under tables or with my bag. 

The stress was still there because I hadn’t gotten to the stage where I could embrace my skin. And that was okay! 

If you’d prefer to cover your skin, that’s completely acceptable. I just want to make it clear that you shouldn’t feel like you HAVE to cover your skin for other people’s benefit. 

If you are someone that’s struggling with delayering during the summer, keep an eye out. I’m going to be writing another post very soon with some tips on how to survive without having to show everything. 

While you’re waiting for that one, why not check out these 5 Eczema friendly ways to keep cool in summer?

So I hope this has helped a little bit for those of you that have Eczema and are resenting the summer heat. (Ironically, I’m writing this while I’m sitting at a bus stop in the pouring rain – thanks English weather!) 

Hopefully it’s the confidence boost you needed to drag out that summer wardrobe and feel great wearing what you want to wear. It’s not about what other people are thinking – it’s about how you’re feeling. You don’t have to suffer for the sake of covering your skin.

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