From taking relaxing walks outdoors to cooling down your shower temperature, Jessa Baum’s personal list of eczema hacks will get you through the rest of summer (hopefully) flare-up-free.

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I’ve lived with eczema my entire life, and the summer months are always some of the worst for me. I can remember being 10 years old and crying because I couldn’t wear a tank top. White, flaky, dry spots covered my arms and shoulders, and no matter what steroid cream or foam the dermatologist prescribed, I was still left with dry patches.

Even after the patches healed, they left behind depigmented and discolored skin, leaving me anxious and embarrassed.

In high school, my eczema got worse and spread down my forearms and onto my thighs. I felt I couldn’t wear short sleeves or shorts anymore. That’s when I realized it was time to make a change.

So many people live with skin disorders, and although I felt I was alone, you never should. I’ve tried a multitude of solutions suggested by doctors. I’ve also discovered some myself. Through time, I’ve learned what truly works for me.

These hacks are directed toward the summer months, but can be used anytime during the year.

1. Shed layers

While having a flare-up, it’s totally normal and expected to want to hide yourself in layers of clothing. It’s natural to want to cover up, but it’s not necessarily the best thing to do for your skin. Although it may make you feel more comfortable, one of the best things to reduce your eczema breakouts is to shed the layers.

Not only does sunlight help by feeding your body the vitamin D your skin needs, it also helps tan over depigmented spots remaining from previous breakouts. You shouldn’t expose your skin for more than 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

2. Gently exfoliate

The key to this tip is the word gently. You don’t want to further irritate your skin and worsen your breakouts, but simply exfoliate away the dead skin cells to reveal newer skin that’s fresh and moisturized.

I suggest using a homemade natural scrub (you can find plenty of recipes online using sugar, salt, honey, and many other natural ingredients) or a gentle exfoliator like Herbivore Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish.

3. Moisturize

Keeping your skin smooth and moisturized is perhaps the most important step! Eczema can become dry and itchy (and more irritated if not properly moisturized), so use a fragrance-free moisturizing cream every day — especially after showering or bathing. I suggest the brand CeraVe. It’s known for its gentle and fragrance-free qualities.

4. Relax

Eczema is often stress-triggered. Keeping a calm mind and cool head can help reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups. Think about incorporating a leisurely walk in your everyday routine or trying a yoga class. You could also talk to your doctor about taking medication to help with stress and anxiety.

5. Try an oatmeal bath

Oatmeal baths can be extremely soothing for eczema flare-ups. I use Aveeno Active Naturals Fragrance-Free Bath Treatment Packets, but you can easily make your own following simple instructions that can be found online. Pro tip: Make sure to use warm water rather than hot!

6. Cool down your showers

Most people have a tendency to take fairly hot showers, especially after a long day. Although the hot steam may be relaxing, it can be very bad for eczema and your skin in general. Hot water is extremely drying, and can leave your eczema in even worse condition. I suggest taking a cool or warm shower if needed and moisturizing directly after.

7. Drink more water

Keeping hydrated is extremely important — and not just for eczema. Health starts from the inside out, so drinking lots of water and eating healthy is often reflected in your skin. I suggest drinking at least eight glasses a day of pure still water. Not only will this help your skin, but it’ll improve your overall health, too!

8. Wear loose-fitting clothing

Try wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, preferably cotton, to help reduce the irritation of your skin. Cotton is great because it’s extremely breathable and allows the skin to receive fresh air and oxygen. It also doesn’t won’t trap sweat and dirt against the skin. The summer is a great time to try this out. The warm weather permits for cooler, looser clothing.

Bottom line

Today, although I occasionally get a flare-up, my skin is cleared and I haven’t felt this confident in my entire life. I truly hope these hacks will help you reduce flare-ups as well!

Remember: confidence is surely the sexiest thing you can wear, so wear it proudly and never let something like a skin problem interfere with your ability to get out there and enjoy life.

Jessica Baum — most people call her Jessa — is a fitness and lifestyle Instagrammer (@jessabaum), YouTuber (Jessa Baum Fitness), and fitness model. After recovering from an eating disorder and depression, she found an untamable passion for fitness, health, and helping others achieve their goals. She strives to help others reach their fitness and wellness goals. Watching others succeed is the best reward she could ever receive.