If you were anything like I use to be, the thought of holidaying in a hot country having to wear shorts and T-shirts with your eczema on show for the world to see, the thought of getting in and out of the pool with your skin drying out as the pool water has washed off all your moisturiser, the thought of going to the beach where sand could potentially get into your cuts and then swimming in the sea for the salt water to sting your eczema can all seem daunting, off putting and a lot of hassle that’s not needed. Why not stay at home where you can hide away your eczema behind cloths and hats and not have to worry? That would be easier right ? The problem with this is your letting the eczema control your life, your standard of living will be reduced and the eczema is winning.
As we know stress can cause eczema, one way we can deal with this is to take a holiday and rewind. Relaxing, visiting sites, having a good time with family and friends can take our mind off work and home life which can potentially reduce stress which can help our eczema.
Another good reason for eczema sufferers to take a holiday is the sun , during the winter months we don’t get enough sunshine to trigger the reaction on our skin that produces Vitamin D, which plays a key role in skin and overall health, so by taking a holiday in the sun especially in the winter months this can help our eczema.
Another good reason for holidaying is the cuisine, you are eating out, if you’re all inclusive the buffets have plenty of healthy options or you’re eating at restaurants where most of the time you have the option of eating something that won’t trigger your eczema. Having the option of so many different types of food can be beneficial for your vitamin levels and also a non trigger option is (usually) always available where if you’re eating at home the fridge may not always have that option. So it’s good to holiday !
Below I’ve listed 5 tips for traveling with eczema
Take clean 100% cotton sheets and pillow cases with you
This may sound extreme and I’ve been laughed at plenty of times by my friends and family when I suddenly pulled out a large sheet from my luggage but it makes perfect sense. Hotel sheets may not be 100% cotton, may be washed with biological washing powder and maybe washed with a fabric softener all which are very big triggers. You’ll be laying on a trigger for 6,7,8 hours a night which is going to effect your eczema in a big way so this is a very important tip. When I’ve been travelling for a short break (one or two nights) and have only a small suitcase I just take a pillow case then usually use my towel as a sheet. Some people wear PJs which can limit contact with the sheets.
Take a cotton towel with you,
When you are using a hotel towel whilst drying off after a shower or getting out the pool the towels will have been washed the same way as the sheets have been (with biological washing powder and softener ) which can trigger your eczema. Bringing your own towel or towels can solve this problem, also when dry this can be used as a makeshift sheet for when on short trips
Find a sunscreen that doesn’t trigger your eczema.
Our skin is damaged enough by eczema so we need to protect it from sunburn using sunscreen just like everyone does. I use Boots Sensitive Suncream which I find doesn’t trigger my eczema. A week or so before your holiday buy a few different sunscreens and use a trial and error technique on a non effected area to see if it causes a trigger or not. Hopefully you will find one that doesn’t effect you and that’s your holiday sunscreen.
Bring moisturiser and soap to the pool
After leaving the pool grab your soap and head to the pool shower to wash off the chlorine (this only has to be a 30 second shower) then moisturise back at your sun lounger as you normally would. This can be done as many times as your going in and out of the pool. The aim is for you to be able to enjoy the pool without your skin drying out.
I find that air conditioning drys out my skin and is a trigger for my eczema. When I’m traveling for a short break I find that most one night hotels have the air con on whether it’s to keep the room warm or cool but isn’t really needed. One of the first things I do when arriving in my room is to switch it off so it isn’t triggering my eczema. Holidaying abroad in a warm climate is abit more tricky as this isn’t always possible with the room being hot. I usually still switch mine off and just sleep with no sheets to keep myself from over heating
Take Non – Biological washing powder with you
If you are staying in somewhere with access to a washing machine and plan to do some washing then take some Non – Bio washing powder, place washing machine on a quick rinse and clean the powder draw before using to help clear out any bio washing powder or any softener remaining in the system.
Before I learnt how to control my eczema and struggled coping with it I would sometimes feel defeated and down hearted having to resort to using steroid cream to fix my skin (and on the very rare occasions I use it I still do!) One time I wouldn’t have these thoughts is when holidaying, the main thing was to have my skin in a good condition so I could enjoy the holiday. A holiday is a very important time, you’ve worked hard, it’s time to relax and have a good time without having to worry about your skin. With this in mind I always made sure my skin was in good shape before traveling whether it was by using steroid cream or not.
Hope these tips help and enjoy your holiday !