As this seemingly never-ending cold snap continues, our skin really has been feeling the brunt of it.
The colder weather in winter, paired with indoor heating, can have serious effects on our skin. Add to that the drop in humidity and an increase in wind, and you’ve got an equation that’ll suck all the moisture out of the skin and leave it feeling red, irritated and flaky.
Those dealing with dry and itchy skin during the colder months often experience worsened symptoms and just to make matters even worse, stress, food allergens, and exposure to harsh chemicals can further intensify these flare-ups.
However, it turns out that one of our food cupboard staples could seriously help smooth things over – literally.
According to Sam Cinkir, Managing Director of Este Medical Group, porridge baths (and ditching dairy) can help combat winter flare-ups of eczema and dermatitis.
A 2012 study showed that taking oat baths, using colloidal oatmeal (we’ll get to this) worked wonders for dermatitis and eczema sufferers by effectively protecting and soothing the skin while maintaining its optimal pH balance.
Cinkir says dermatologists at his clinic advocate this, saying: “Colloidal oatmeal is a game-changer for people dealing with dermatitis and eczema. Its natural properties create a protective barrier, alleviating itching and irritation.”
Preparing colloidal oatmeal involves grinding regular oatmeal into a fine powder with a blender or food processor. The key is achieving a consistent powder for seamless mixing into the bathwater, maximising skin exposure.
“The beauty of colloidal oatmeal lies in its simplicity. When suspended in bathwater, it creates a therapeutic soak, bringing immense relief to irritated skin,” he adds.
For more severe cases, GPs or dermatologists can prescribe patients prescription creams like corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors to reduce inflammation and itching.
Besides external factors, Mr Cinkir said dietary choices play a big role in managing dermatitis and eczema. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also essential to prevent dry skin and contribute to overall skin health.
“Certain foods may trigger or worsen symptoms such as dairy, gluten, eggs, and acidic foods. My advice to people dealing with these skin conditions is to keep a food diary to identify potential triggers and make informed choices about their diet.”
Pass the porridge oats…