sweater: here & here // fedora: here // gold disc necklace: similar here & on sale!
You may be wondering how there is any good associated with eczema, and we’ll get to that, but first, the bad and the ugly. The bad is an insatiable itchiness, an aggravating tingly-ness, and feeling like I’m covered in needles with an overwhelming urge to crawl out of my skin. Fun, right? And the ugly is an awful, angry pink, red, and purple (sounds pretty, but I can assure you it’s not), rash that likes to appear all over my eyelids and down my nose, around my wrists and inside of my elbows, and smack dab in the middle of my thighs. Oh, and also all over my stomach. Pretty awesome, huh? And to make matters worse, it’s not just a bright, juicy rash, but a super dry and obviously flakey one. I do have photographic evidence of this, but it might traumatize you so much that you won’t dare come back to my blog, so I’ll spare you. Ha.
Now you’re probably really wondering where the good is in all of this grossness, and I promise we’ll get to that, but let’s talk about what eczema is. You’ve probably heard of it before – Kim Kardashian oddly seems to be an ambassador for it?, but maybe you’re not exactly sure what it is. Well it’s pretty simple actually and also frustratingly broad. Eczema is group of medical conditions that result in a skin rash. Yep, that’s it. A skin rash. Pretty frustrating when you consider how widespread the triggers and treatments for rashes really are. And bonus, it’s common to also have asthma and other allergies if you have eczema. And yes, I am one of the lucky ones to have all of the above. If you’d like to go further down the eczema rabbit hole, The National Eczma Association has a ton of interesting (and boring) information on their site.
And now, the good. Since being diagnosed with eczema after years of thinking I was maybe experiencing random bouts of heat rashes, but really having no idea what the f*ck was going on, I do know what’s going on now and it forces me to take damn good care of my skin. And here’s how I do just that:
1. INVEST IN GOOD PRODUCTS
Unfortunately, gone are the days of buying sickeningly sweet body lotions, cheap body sprays, and whatever-is-on-sale-at-the-drugstore face washes. Now, I’m forced to do a little more research into the products I’m buying to see how clean and natural the ingredients really are, if they’re fragrant-free and designed for sensitive skin, and if they are good quality. Interestingly enough, I have had horrible reactions with a Neutrogena face wash branded for sensitive skin, but have had great luck with higher quality products from Sephora and Nordstrom (go figure!). However, this doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Organic, cold-pressed oils like jojoba and rosehip have worked really well with my skin, are super affordable, and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
2. TRY OUT SAMPLES
Now before I blow half of my paycheck on fancy skincare and beauty products (shh, don’t tell my husband), I always try samples first. This is a good tip for anyone to ensure you like what you’re about to buy, but essential for someone who suffers from eczema or even just sensitive skin. Nordstrom and Sephora are great about giving you free samples of really any of their products, magazines are chock full of foundation and fragrance swatches, and most department stores will send you free, mini-products of your choice with a beauty purchase. When I go to my dermatologist, I grab two handfuls out of the sample skincare bowl. #noshame
3. COMMIT TO A SKINCARE REGIME
Aside from crappy products waging war on my skin, wearing makeup for too long and not properly washing and moisturizing is a recipe for an eczema outbreak. Therefore, developing and actually following through on an AM and PM skincare routine is essential. For me, this involves a designated makeup remover, balancing face wash, hydrating toner, anti-aging eye cream, and all-in-one face moisturizer. Oh, and of course, sunscreen, because no one likes rashy and sunburnt skin.
4. LET SKIN BREATH
If I sense an outbreak developing on my face, I have to forego makeup unless I want a full-fledged, weeks-long disaster on my hands. Knowing that I have to regularly go without makeup is great motivation for staying committed to my skincare routine and in turn, helps my makeup sit much better on my skin when I do wear it.
5. STAY HYDRATED & MOISTURIZED
Although there really is no known cause for eczema, there is a connection with dehydrated and dry skin. So, I make sure I’m keeping dry skin away in two ways: chugging tons of water literally all day everyday and slathering lotion all over my body as soon as I get out of the shower every morning (tip: applying lotion while your skin is still wet helps really lock in the moisture).
6. EXERCISE & EAT CLEAN
We all know good health starts from within and skincare really is a practice in it. After all, our skin is our body’s largest organ (kinda weird to think about?), so it’s important to take extra good care of it. For me, this looks like daily walks with my dog, weekly yoga and occasional strength-training classes, as well as eating tons of veggies, lean proteins (I don’t touch red meat.), and healthy fats (avocados, coconut oil, nut butters, etc.). I do really notice a difference in my skin when I’m eating super healthy and conversely, notice almost immediate irritation and itchiness after eating a lot of junk (especially cheese, for some sad, sad reason).
Obviously, what works for me may not work for you and vice versa, because eczema, allergies, and skin sensitivities affect everyone differently, but I’m hoping my tips can be tailored to fit your needs. I’d also LOVE to hear how you take care of your skin and any experience with eczema you might have!
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