Love Your Skin & It Will Love You Back - How To Tame Eczema + Trusty Products & Tips
There's no hiding that I spent a good portion of time in a tanning bed during my 20's. Evident below. Don't worry, I'm also saying YIKES....
However, I spent the first 20 years of my life actually taking immaculate good care of my skin, because the chronic eczema crippled my spirits (and that of my poor mother's). From a young age I basically looked like a leper. From my head all the way to my toes. Eczema. The change in seasons would cause flare ups, and as I matured, it unfortunately matured right along with me. Allergy prick tests, numerous topical medicines, saran wrapped arms and legs to trap in moisture, gloves worn at night, nails kept short, oatmeal baths, homemade lotions using good ole lard Crisco from the giant blue tub in the pantry, and one desperate plea from my mother to our church for an anointment in holy water. There was little knowledge or support from doctors on what to do next. It followed me from pre-pubescent resilience to delicate and dramatic teenager, where it landed SMACK in between my eyes on the bridge of my nose. That's right. Eczema breakout right there on my face for everyone to see. As if high school wasn't punishing enough. That eczema DID NOT bring all the boys to the yard. I basically buried myself at home for about 8 days, wrote in my journal about how repulsive I looked and how absolutely horrid life had become. You know, your typical teenage angst. I had gotten fairly good at hiding it other than the PE short-shorts that showed off the red rash painted across the backs of both of my legs. Or the occasional t-shirt that displayed the spots on the insides of my elbows. Typically landing in "sweat spots", the eczema was generally easy to disguise. I was fair skinned, rash-prone, and wanted nothing more than to cover it all up with layers of foundation and a deep tan. I found that the tanning bed actually helped improve my break-out frequency. I was immediately hooked. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. There are times here and there where laying in a warm heat lamp, closed in a room alone for a small fraction of time is the most delightful thing. The sun spots and 80 year old looking hands that I've developed? Not so delightful.
Eventually, my skin had basically healed itself and my only concern was a stress related flare-up. My biggest fear was an eczema break-out before my wedding day. PRETTY! Fortunately, my big day was rash free. I had discovered trusty products and methods for keeping it at bay.
- Avoid fragrant dryer sheets and laundry detergents
- Try not to turn-over your beauty products constantly - your skin needs time to transition and adapt
- If you struggle with allergies and complexion troubles, try washing the pollen and pollution from your hair at night so you keep your pillow case free of these allergens
- Research diets specifically for skin sensitivity and keep your shopping list full of the items that promote healthy skin
- Keep nails short or wear gloves during rest to ensure you are not scratching in your sleep
- Don't bathe in really hot water as it dehydrates the skin
- Wash chlorine from the body right away and apply moisturizer immediately
My go-to's for healthy and non-irritated skin
Over the course of my adulthood I have learned what my skin likes and what it hates. Moisture is key! Fragrance free is crucial, unless you've tested your skin with specific fragrances or essential oils that do not cause a break-out. I personally love Sephora for the ability to sample first before committing to new products.
WATER!!! I think we're all smart enough to understand how crucial H2O is for our bodies, but it's also the SIMPLEST thing to add to your regimen. Water rids of body and skin toxins, helps keep your skin hydrated and wrinkle-free, and assists in a naturally glowing complexion. Without proper hydration, skin is left dry, flaky and acne-prone. BONUS! It assists in weight management too. "Water? You're my biff."
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF for the extra dry seasons - I even use on my face! Aveeno has an amazing line specifically for Eczema that includes colloidal oatmeal to relieve itching and calm skin.
To get a natural summer glow I've learned to lean on a good spray tan or lotion. I've discovered that Jergens' low fragrance and gentle coloring is perfect for my sensitive skin
Coconut Oil is one of the most incredible gifts that nature has given us! Cooking, baking, hair mask, cuticle repair, skin moisturizer. The list goes on. I love coconut oil for specific dry patches. It helps lock in the moisture and heal skin quickly. It's non greasy formula is perfect for eye make-up removal.
Making sure your face is protected is so important to keeping healthy skin! Clinique has a wide range of SPF foundations, lotions and blocks. City Block comes in 2 SPF levels (25 and 40) and also acts like a face primer before make up application! Major win.
Fresh products are made with natural ingredients. This soy cleanser includes amino acid-rich soy protein, rosewater, cucumber, and Borage seed. It leaves skin nourished and toned without stripping away moisture. BONUS it removes mascara easily!
Cetephil has been a staple in my beauty regimen for eons! It's perfect for all seasons and is great for summer months when my skin isn't as needy for moisture. Trusty for all ages and skin types - specializing in acne, eczema, and redness prone skin.
If you're experiencing changes in your skin (do you know this happens just about every 7 years?) recognize when you need to make some changes in your routine. The differences between your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s+ are going to be noticeably different, so take action as needed to keep a fresh face! I look at pictures from my 20's to current and honestly feel better about my skin and appearance at 36 years young.
I'm happy to talk eczema if you're concerned you may be suffering from occasional break-outs. We only have this one skin! Let's take care of it.