Does exposure to the sun help your eczema? My personal experiences

 

To me, going abroad (out of the UK) to a hot country such as Spain, Italy, Portugal etc does wonders for my skin!! Like the change in one week, where I don’t use any steroids, is amazing!! You wouldn’t believe the change sometimes! In April, I went away and came back with my skin smoothed over compared to the dry, weeping, crusty, waking up sore, stiff and covered in my own skin feeling I started with! I could finally sleep, not itch constantly and move my neck around without feeling sore and stiff, and all of this was without any steroids.

I’m not sure if its the sun exposure or just the environment of being away from home, because as well as sun, I tend to have a chance to relax, forget about home and since I don’t know anybody out there, I lose some of that self conscious feeling.

I would have thought the 2 showers would make me dry as a prune but surprisingly they don’t. I shower twice a day as the heat makes you sweat and perhaps, the sweat leads to my skin getting better? After all, its a release of toxins isn’t it? I really don’t know, since UK weather isn’t exactly stable sunshine for weeks on end (even one week!) I don’t see much change if I go out in UK sun, however that could be because I don’t spend all day outside like you do abroad and because the weather doesn’t remain constant to really test it out.
It baffles me at times, but the bottom line for me is that it works! Whatever leads to it, it helps my skin and though I know sun exposure isn’t too great either, with my darker skin it’s not as sensitive to sun damage and I’d rather use the sun than steroids! Least its natural! I haven’t really had much experience with sunbeds as I used them once for 3 days only but perhaps using them for a longer period of time might lead to the same effect?
I’m wondering what your experiences are? Does the hot weather and sun help your eczema?

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Comments
48 Responses to “Does exposure to the sun help your eczema? My personal experiences”
  1. Only had severe out breaks in the last 2yrs. Before that just hands. …i went to new Caledonia in November my skin was pretty bad i spent a week in the sea and getting a tan….NO skin problems. I live in Brisbane Australia humid and hot and never get out in the sun yet all the years i worked outdoors never a problem. Today I sat in the sun for 20min and feel better and bought D3 i seriously reckon im deficient but after endless doctors and telling them my skin is at its best when I get a tan they haven’t said anything. Taking control now and i too think the water bathing or drinking is maybe a problem too many additives. Great site thanks .

    Like

    • Selina says:

      Taking control is so powerful. I love that so many of us have done this and come out the other side smiling! Good luck on your trials. Your story about sun exposure sounds similar to mine. I hope vitamin d3 works for you! Keep us updated

      Like

  2. Scott says:

    Hi guys

    Here is my Story;
    I have suffered eczema all my life since I was a baby. Ever since 2008 I started getting facial eczema. People probably know how daunting face eczema can be, as the face is fully exposed all the time. It really have a big effect on everyday life. Oh by the way, I live in Australia.

    I have tried a lot of things (as probably all of you have), and spent a lot of money to retard my eczema on my face, but nothing has worked to get rid of it completely. The best thing that is working best for me are Organic Turmeric supplements which seem to lessen flare ups, but it is not gone completely.

    Here is the funny reason, that I cannot seem to grasp;

    Whenever I go on Holiday for 2 weeks, my eczema disappears completely, body and face. And I mean completely.

    I went to Europe in Nov, Thailand in Jul, and everytime my eczema was gone.

    I tried to figure out why, and maybe I thought it was the humidity? But Europe was in winter so it is very dry and Thailand is very humid, so that cannot be the answer. And normally I am on strict diet for my eczema when I am home, but when I am on holiday I ate everything I want like cheese and fast food ect, and still got better.

    I believe it is something to do with the air or atmosphere but I cannot figure out what it is.
    It has been 2 weeks since I came back and it is starting to flare up again.
    I am even considering to relocate to Europe at the moment, because I am so amazed how it can just be gone like that, when I tried everything to get rid of it in Australia and I couldn’t.

    Has anyone had this experience? Please share or give me any feedback.

    Thank you

    Like

    • Selina says:

      Hi Scott

      Thank you for sharing! You sound exactly like me! I used to go on holiday and i could eat anything and my skin would still get so much better. Then I’d come home and within a week the eczema crept back. It is so frustrating!

      A follower told me about his story in 2013 (check my your stories page under Manfred 🙂 ) and he also found sun helped and had such a similar story to mine. I’m in the uk so sunlight can be dismal whilst when I’m abroad I’m getting it constantly. Are you the same? I really really think you should consider vitamin d supplements! Read my more recent blog pages about overcoming winter blues and vitamin d as a review. It has changed my life literally! I can use that when the eczema gets worse and it works better than steroids. Literally!

      I take a dose of 5000iu at times like winter when my skin gets worse. I can get away with none/less in summer months. But i truly cannot tell you what vitamin d has done for me. If you check my about page you can see photos from earlier this year after vitamin d compared to 2013 when i got a bad flare up. I haven’t had a bad flare up since then and i literaly have to put the biggest part down to vitamin d3.

      Like

      • patsoe says:

        I have been using the pill sbut it has not slowed down anything. I have taken one of the pills that you suggested I purchase D3 daily, and the bottle is nearly empty. I went on holiday to a sunny climate, and straight away it cleared up in a couple of days. I swear its the climate, sun or water quality that is different.

        Like

      • Selina says:

        Which iu of d3 are you taking? It could definitely be water quality or the fact you are relaxed away from daily stress ! Ahhh its a shame d3 didn’t work. Within a month of taking 5000ui mine was alot more manageable.

        Like

      • Scott says:

        Thank you Selina and Patsoe for your replies. Much appreciated.

        Well vitamin D3 I do take daily but not 5000ui. I did a blood test and my vitamin D was insufficient so maybe I will try taking a bit more daily. I will try and see how it goes.

        Yea it could be the water, maybe when you wash your face. Water in Brisbane is known to have a lot of chlorine but yea, there are so many factors to consider it is daunting! haha. Some people say it is the stomach. Hope we all knew the answer.

        Anyhow I will try taking more vitamin D3. You guys also try taking organic turmeric as well. It has definitely helped me substantially. I don’t get as bad flare ups, but yea we all would like to completely get rid of it of course.

        I will update later.

        Have a good weekend guys.

        Like

  3. Christina says:

    I do believe that the environment plays a HUGE role in controlling eczema. I used to live in the Caribbean where it wasn’t dry, sunny and the water is soft. I never had any skin problems then! When I moved to Canada, I got eczema. My dermatologist said the dry and cold Canadian climate most likely triggered it and dried out my skin even more. I also believe that the hard water in Canada played a role too so I installed a water softener for my shower.
    When I returned to the Caribbean for Christmas vacation, my skin was exactly how it used to be – eczema free!! So yes, environment is a huge factor.

    Like

    • Selina says:

      It sounds like you may benefit from taking vitamin d3 supplements! Sunny vacations reduce my eczema considerably but living in the UK meant I was not getting the same benefit.

      I now take vitamin d3 daily and I cannnot tell you how great it has been. You sound like sun exposure helps you too so perhaps it could help! If you look at my about page I have photos on there. I began taking the supplements in jan and you can see the dramatic difference.

      Hope that helps!

      Like

    • Selina says:

      Does sun exposure help you then? Canada is obv a lot like the UK in the sense of the weather in cokmparison to the carribean which gets good sun exposure? Enviornment as in sunlight really does make a difference to me!

      I always think eczema is my body’s way of telling me that something is wrong and the journey is about listening to your body and helping it to remain healthy in all the diversity we face through people, our environment the lot….just such hard work at times!

      Many people mention a water softener but because I am currently living in my family home it means the cost is astonishing. I’ll have to wait until I buy my own first place and get settled out of my studies!

      Like

  4. Moira says:

    Really interesting blog…. I used to live in Africa where I had issues with eczema around my neck – probably due to the heat there – since moving to the UK I have found it moved to my hands – but has improved recently after taking precautions to avoid known triggers – maybe vit D is responsible for improvement in sun, and also being in the sun is associated with a holiday – especially if from UK – so stress is reduced too ? Some interesting and helpful comments here – Thank you!

    Like

    • Selina says:

      Hi Moira, thanks for your post. I have more recently started taking vitamin d3 and you can read about that, but that has been amazing at combatting dryness and flares! If sun exposure helps you id really recommend it! xx

      Like

  5. Selina says:

    As an update to this, please read my vit d3 review! If like me your skin clears in sunlight then please try vit d3 it has literally done wonders at keeping my eczema at bay and smoother!

    Like

  6. courtney says:

    I love in the United states and an a teenager (16) . My eczema flares up about 4-5 times a year. Im on a prescribed cream for it but it doesn’t seem to be helping that much. It makes the itching stop but not make the flare up go away. Is there anything else that could help? Im to embarrassed to wear any clothes that show my shoulders and arm.

    Like

  7. R.R says:

    I live in the UK and my eczema gets really bad in the winter months. When i went on holiday in the summer last year to turkey and the year before that to Spain i noticed my eczema literally cleared up after a week. I noticed i wasn’t itching any more and my skin looked smooth. I made sure i had plenty of water to keep hydrated and didn’t go out from 12pm-3pm as it was too hot but overall i think the sun helps as it brings out the vitamin D in your skin and fights bacterial infections. Here in the UK i use tanning beds 2 times a week each consisting of a weak 5 min session but i only just started it.

    Like

  8. Eva Hong says:

    My baby has been battling with eczema ever since he’s 2 month old. I started taking him out for his daily 20 minute walk, and his eczema just cleared up like magic! I didn’t make the connection at the time that the sun was helping him with his eczema until I came across this information on Google. There was a couple of days when I got lazy and stopped our walk, and his eczema returned a week later. So, I take him for a walk every day now no matter how busy it gets.

    Like

  9. sara crook says:

    I have had eczema my whole life too-I’m 30. I think the sun does help. I went on holiday to Turkey when I was 15 and my skin cleared like magic!
    Salt water is good for skin. The moment I got back to England I was covered in spots again. Also, I went to Australia last year and the same thing happened.

    Going back next February so I hope I can get my latest flare up sorted

    Like

    • Have you heard about vitamin d3? The sun helps quite a few people, a lot actually, who comment on my blog so I’m going to try these vitamins (something we get from the sun) and see if they can help when we don’t have access to the right weather! The benefits the sun brings us can’t be coincidence can it? (Hopefully!)

      Like

    • R.R says:

      did your eczema improve as you got into your 20’s? im 19 years old

      Like

      • Jodie says:

        I am sad to say, it seems to have moved to my face and neck! I used to have it behind my knees, in the crooks of my elbows and on my hands. At times it would effect my feet and toes (I would run around scuffing my feet on my mom’s shag rug to itch it). I am 39 and have had it for life. I was told as a child it was chocolate that triggered it. I don’t eat chocolate, really I don’t even like it. I do however, have a yearning for pixie sticks instead. Again, the treatments are different for everyone. I found the same thing about vacation, my mom and I think it was the salt water that originally burnt and stung my skin that fixed it. I also think the sun, humidity, dryness, the change in fabrics I was wearing and just possibly a change in the water for showering confused my skin enough to let it heal. This is an expensive ordeal to undergo. The trial and error of all the lotions and potions and I find as my skin gets used to something, the eczema comes back again. One thing I haven’t had to retire in over 20 years is Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Treatment. I use that on my skin that is exposed to the winter weather and sometimes all year round on patches that have had flare ups.

        Like

      • It definitely is expensive!! I don’t know how much I spend a month on skin care…but it’s my biggest expenditure no doubt!!

        I think the water abroad seems to be less harsh than British water, time away from the stresses of life must help and the sunshine definitely helps mine too.

        I found yoghurt stung my face like crazy when it was extremely flared and broken but it healed it within days. Salt water stings too but it cleans it which must be good!!

        I’ve used Elizabeth ardens 8 hour cream but only the thick ointment one when I’m travelling on planes so my face doesn’t overdry! Is that what the lotion is like?

        Like

  10. joe says:

    really cool blog!

    yehp in total agreeance with traveling and holidays, ive had eczema my whole life (21) and in 2010 i went to europe (spain,portugal,france) in these countries my eczema basically cleared up completely (tiny patches on my neck remained). when i got back home (australia) however it all came back instantly, eyebrows fell out, face patches, white ring around my mouth, dry and rough patches on the left side of my neck etc.

    it seems the climate there could be something to think about?

    Like

    • Its true….but what would be the solution? I don’t want to move but sometimes I do think how much of a difference it would make if I lived in a place like the ones you’ve mentioned where my skin benefits so much from the hot weather!

      Like

  11. Stella says:

    Hi there, I grew up in the UK, but went to Nigeria during my teens and my eczema cleared up. I haven’t been back for 26 years!! I could eat what I liked and the eczema was gone still. Came back to England and it flared up after 8 years of returning to this country!! The sun in England gives me sunburn now!! I just don’t understand it as Nigeria is near the equator and is much hotter.

    When I go to the States, my skin clears up as well. Strange but true.

    Like

  12. mia says:

    Wow… I have also come to a conclusion that Sun is the only thing that really helps.Ofcourse diet and skin care are important and essential but when things get really bad..there is nothing like sun. It clears my skin up in an instant. Since I live even more North than UK (Estonia) and have like 2 warm months a year (where temperatures rise up to+20`c and there`s actual SUNLIGHT, yay) I have also started using sunbeds. My skin cleans up on holidays as well, but I cant afforsd going to Italy after every two months…:) I usually go tanning 2 times a week for a couple of weeks… then my skin gets completely clear and I take a break from tanningbeds… and after a month or 2i go again.. I try tobe moderate about it, since it has its risks (cancer).. i always ask for the “weakest” sunbed and at first dont take more than 6-7 minutes.

    The best cure is ofcourse salty seawater+sun… maybe we should all become diving instructors or smth 🙂

    Like

  13. Jodie Pawson says:

    Hey!
    Just found your blog and thought I would leave a comment.
    Im 18 and have had serve eczema since growing up, only last month was I allowed to go see a skin dermatologist, and he is going to give me ‘light treatment’, I will go 3 times a week for 10 weeks, and basically its a sun bed, and over the 10 weeks I will have more and more time on the sun bed. I had a leaflet on it but can’t find it :{ , but I think it dries up your eczema {: ….fingers crossed 😀 , but im going to turkey for 7 weeks next week so hopefully the sun will do me some good before I go on the sun beds!!

    Like

  14. Niiiiik says:

    Interesting article – I recently went to Portugal and my eczema cleared up instantly. I was delighted that I didnt need to use any steriodal cream throughout my whole stay. I wanted to look into it more, and thats how I found your post. I only get a couple of patches, eye lids, elbows, and in ears. Whilst I was away with my wife, we were chatting about what the difference could be. As well as the sun, another idea was; as my eczema always seems to flare up after a wash/shower maybe it could have something to do with the water in the UK being more harsh on the skin than in Portugal.

    Like

  15. Yvonne says:

    I live in Singapore where it’s hot and humid all year around, and the itching is constant – not all the time, but I daresay every single day.
    I spent one winter and spring a couple of years ago in Toronto, and it was wonderful for my skin. I rarely felt any itching (cold numbs??) and any time my neck felt itchy i just left my hair up for the cold wind to cool it down. My skin was very dry, but this was easily managed with religious moisturising using a richer moisturiser.
    Now, I try to spend every holiday somewhere cold. Maybe I should move 😦

    Like

  16. Vanz says:

    I think it has to do something with the environment definitely! When I lived in America I had no eczema. Even in winter when it was darker and much colder than where I am in England I only got the tiniest itch which I could ignore and no rashes would really ever come up. The moment I moved to the UK my eczema came back like no one’s business. It was mainly on my face and to be frank I felt just ugly. Luckily I’ve maintained my face but it’s all over my body.

    My parents offered to send me on holiday for 2 weeks and tbh I was dying on the inside to go. What held be back was that I’d be by myself and also the fact I felt my body was so scarred that I really couldn’t image going onto a beach in my swim suit. I also knew the moment I’d be back in the UK it would come back.

    The only long lasting cure for my eczema at the moment seems to be not living in the UK. However I’m determined to get myself sorted this gap year.

    Like

    • Hey,

      Sounds frustrating and I can totally relate to holidays!! I love what they can do for my eczema, but 1) hate how dark I have become as I’m already brown! 2) My body is so scarred that I literally try and hide myself away. Doesn’t help when I have 2 perfect sisters!

      What are you planning to do during your gap year? I’d be glad to hear your experiences too. You said you get it on your face too. I do find that that is the worst for me! You can’t hide it and its just draining! How is it at the moment? UK weather isn’t great….

      Like

      • Jodie from Michigan says:

        Kiehl’s makes a moisturizer with tint in it. I use that and it seems to even out my redness, but I have to remoisturize during the day just to keep it from flaking off. For black tie events MAC make up is the best! It hides and provides crazy camoflauge to redness. Nothing really fixes the texture issue. But at least I don’t look like a siren coming at ya. I am finished with the idea that cosmetics cause my eczema (I’m 39). I use the make-up now to cover up the badness. If it doesn’t burn, it’s no trouble for my skin. I do however stay away from the regular strength neutrogena makeup remover cloths (those burnt like nobodies business!). As I see there is another Jodie listed on the blog, I have adjusted to Jodie from Michigan.

        Like

      • Thanks for the tips Jodie :). Same as you if my eczema isn’t flared make up doesnt affect it.

        I use bare minerals though but find mac better for my neck to give it proper cover when I am going out more formally. Mac on my face was too greasy and shiny, whilst bare minerals as its powder keeps my face matte. It’s tough as I have eczema and oily skin/spots at times!

        Like

  17. N says:

    I found a period in India amazing for my skin… I had a few wild theories about why but I think it was probably the high humidity, being too busy to scratch and being quite relaxed. I live in Australia where you get sunburned in 15 minutes, so I’m always suspicious about how much sun can help – but that might have been a factor as well. I might have to start an annual pilgrimage to India I think!

    Like

    • See I’m Indian, but my first sign of eczema as a teenager was during a trip to India!! Was small but that was the first sign of its reoccurence =[ I did go during monsoon season though so that could have been the trigger as it’s muggy etc probably a breeding ground for bacterica! Did you have injections before you went? I have also began to think injections may be a trigger of mine but cannot be sure. But after India and China (both with injections involved) I have had my worst flare ups ever!

      How do you find your skin down under? I always thought Australian weather may be good!

      Like you said though….there is my theories for you! We all have them, and eczema is so different in each of us =/

      Like

  18. Marcie Mom says:

    My baby doc’s advice is not to go into the sun for too long; understand about emotional up & down, always happen with eczema. My baby’s much better now, can see her picture on my blog, eczemablues.com

    Like

  19. Susan H. says:

    Hi! Just stumbled upon your blog and just had to comment. My eldest son has mulitple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma. He is 15 years old now and his skin is pratically cleared, he no longer gets itchy and hot and bothered by stress, sleeps through the night, no longer wakes up with soiled bedding and bits of skin on the floor…why? Well we think it could be a few things, but mainly in grade 6 (4 years ago) his dermatologist prescribed light therapy. This is NOT sun beds! This is a treatment offered that does not have the bad Uv rays in it like in the sun beds. He would strip down to his underwear, where protective goggles and only be in for a few minutes 3 times a week. He was carefully monitered by a technician trained in administering the light therapy. (we are in ontario canada where this treatment is covered by our health coverage up to 18 years of age. It is a well known treatment for psorisis) After going from Fall (when his skin starts to act up after being so great in the summer) until the begining of summer his skin cleared up and he hasn’t had to go back for any more treatments. Last year I started him on vitamin D as well. Worth a try…not sure if you have that treatment in the UK. I write a blog about our journey with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma with recipes as well. Susan H. @ the food allergy chronicles

    Like

  20. Mo says:

    I’ve read that the sun does help in killing bacteria and also beacuse of the production of Vitamin D.

    Strangely enough, i was told to avoid the sun when younger.

    Would be interesting to see if theres any research on the severity of eczema in a countries with year round sunshine, such as South Africa where I am from.

    Perhaps in addition to the sun, its the relaxing elements of being on holiday? 🙂

    My eczema was almost non-existent for the 2yrs+ that I lived in London! And those 2yrs definitely felt like a holiday to me.

    Like

  21. Gareth says:

    Hi there,

    The sun definitely helps your skin! The problem I have as you do too I’m sure is that here in the UK, the Sun is limited as well as the self consioicness of having too expose my damaged skin which we so badly try to hide as much as possible! I went through a phase where my skin was nearly perfect a few years back, I was vein If anything! I was into the gym and I’d use a sun bed once a week! I think back now that It was doing wonders for me! I’m in a bad place at the moment but once I’m out of it then the gym and a weekly sun bed will be returning for sure!

    All the best

    Gareth

    Like

    • Hi Gareth, I tried sunbeds once but only for one week and my flare up was so extreme I wasnt sure that was why I was hardly seeing any change! I went on holiday for a week the week after that though and came back with my skin nearly almost normal so like you sun is great for me! How often do you use sunbeds and for how long? I have a sunbed at my gym that I could try especially as I know with winter coming my flare ups are more likely to occur then so having an extra way to manage my eczema would be great! I’m trying to keep a routine to keep it at bay, but what I really want is a way to calm down any oncoming flare ups so I dont have to have them! (asking for a lot I know but how good would that be?!?). Its okay when my skin is calm, but when the flare ups come it just seems like NOTHING but sun helps! (unless you count steroids which I dont!). After going to the gym and eating healthier, my skin is generally calmer, but I’m not sure that will be enough when I get a full blown flare =/ so sunbeds may be a good alternative to paying for a holiday!I think it depends on each person as on some sites people have mentioned it aggravates theres, but sun is definitely one of the most natural ways to clear a flare up for me, UK weather is so annoying for that though!

      Like

    • Mike says:

      Yeah I find that I badly try to hide too, I don’t like wearing t-shirts because of how bad my neck is 😦 But yeah, I think sun is actually a good thing, as long as it isn’t TOO hot, because sweat really worsens things for me.

      Like

      • Jodie from Michigan says:

        I was a night time scratcher. I’m sure it was from folding my arms and tucking them under the pillow. I would sweat in the crooks of my elbows and then scratch without any care and with complete abandon! I found some great sheets that are made from a routine material that is woven differently. I think they were called Dermarest and they are made in Raleigh, North Carolina. They wick the sweat away!. They are almost like satin and sometimes I find my duvet on the floor later. They are worth the investment. If your parents want to get something nice for your birthday or holidays, request a set of these sheets. They are not cheap and they only come in white. But I love them and won’t put any other sheets on my bed now.

        Like

      • This sounds good Jodie might have too look into this!!

        Does it curb your night time itches? I scratch in my sleep. Literally I don’t remember but I wake up with the evidence!

        Like

      • Martyn Barrow says:

        I also find sunshine really beneficial for my eczema, probably for the vitamin D. I find Aveeno Skin Relief (with Shea butter) to be the best cream I’ve come across. It costs about £4 from Lloyd’s pharmacy. Also I try to drink water rather than too much tea. Also I use olive oil on my food, sometimes with dried mixed herbs, lovely flavour and not expensive. Also, I found that drinking a small amount of lager helps, because of the vitamin Bs, Becks Blue is non-alcoholic and tastes nice. Becks Green has some alcohol and is flavoured with lime, which I like too.

        Like everyone else, I have searched for years for relief. Regularly wiping radiators with an antiseptic wipe is also important, because hot dust/dust mite stuff or spider stuff is seriously toxic and generates itching.

        At the moment, I have hardly any skin problems, whereas a year ago I was in hospital, skin totally broken down, couldn’t control my body temperature any more, seriously poorly on steroid tablets and cream.

        Like

      • Selina says:

        Martyn Thank you for sharing! That’s wonderful to hear. Those changes have really had a positive impact, that’s fantastic. I have never heard of the clean radiators one and have just realised how i miss those when cleaning! Will definitely try that.

        I’m a sucker for tea but trying to cut down and turn to herbal tea…I’m glad summer is coming up so i don’t want a hot drink as much. It’s great to see you proactively reducing it and sticking to water.

        I used to love aveeno but oddly I’ve developed an allergy to oats so its not an option for me sadly but i definitely think you can buy it in sets of 3 or 4 on Amazon for a good price! I am glad you have found a routine that works for you. When my skin feels aggravated i turn to vitamin d3 and it really helps. I am so grateful for that sunshine in a bottle!

        Like

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