Health and well-being mean taking care of every part of your body and mind. This includes your skin. For myself, my biggest skin problem is eczema. The dry skin not only affects my appearance but also my discomfort. For better, healthier skin, there are skincare routines you can do in order to achieve it.
I have had eczema for as long as I can remember. I still have flare-ups every now and then, but with routine skin care, diet and treatment my skin is much less irritated these days. In this post about my skin, I will be talking about what my eczema is like, how to deal with eczema, including skin care and a healthy, eczema appropriate diet.
My stubborn eczema
My skin was at its worst when I was about 13, both my eyelids were covered with skin flakes, and every blink caused a snowfall of dead skin into my eyes. My eyelids resembled that of a drought, which meant any moisturiser would sting, I couldn't go into a pool without the burning sensation on my face, and sweat, trickling over my raw skin - it was just dreadful.
During that period of time, my eczema affected my self-confidence massively. My eczema focused around my eyes meant I was extremely conscious that it might be the first thing people saw, and that they wouldn't see past it.
The windows to my soul had blinds that stayed shut - sunglasses, side gaze, caps... you name it. I wish I kept a photo so I could show you just how bad it was!
Doctor after doctor, they'd say 'it can't be treated, it'll go away when the time is right'. And it did eventually, but not without experimenting and eventually establishing my own skincare routine.
Tackling my eczema
A lot of the articles I read suggested that the basis of healthy skin comes down to your daily routine, this includes dietary and skincare habits. Finding what best fits your skin's needs is key to making it look as clean and healthy as possible, this applies to both dry and oily skin. It took a lot of trial and error until my routine became what it is today, it also requires persistence over time before the effects started kicking in. Once it became a habit my eczema slowly faded away.
These are some of the things I have done, but everyone's routine may vary, you can change it up so it fits your skin or your daily routine better.
My morning routine is pretty simple, partially because I like my lie-ins, and I leave getting ready until the last possible second. The other reason for a simple routine is to keep my skin as fresh as possible and avoid my eczema being overwhelmed with chemicals first thing in the morning, this also means my pores are less likely to be clogged.
My routine normally consists of three main steps:
1. Moisturise entire face with botanical balm -
This particular botanical balm is particularly useful to my extremely dry skin, it's more like a thick paste that manages to keep your skin moisturised throughout the day. This helps keep my flaky skin caused by my eczema to a minimal
2. Spray on a layer of sunscreen -
While some people say the sun helps certain skin conditions, I find that the sun really irritates my eczema. I spray sunscreen on partially to avoid having my eczema patches come in direct contact with the sun, but also to protect my skin from pigmentation in the future.
3. Put my makeup on (Eyeliner and concealer) -
I try to avoid wearing foundation on a daily basis, however, I only wear waterproof eyeliner. The eyeliner dries on top of my eyelids rather than seeps into my skin, which doesn't irritate my eczema. I only wear concealer when there is a spot or when my eczema is bright red.
My evening routine is when I make sure my skin is fresh and clean. With the right products, it takes less than five minutes for your skin to be clean:
1. Use oil-based makeup remover to remove all visible makeup -
This is a massive money saver, you only need a fingertip full and you don't need any cotton pads in order to remove all your makeup. In a circular motion, rub the makeup remover all over your face. Be warned, you will look like a mess and your face will be extremely greasy.
2. Pat face with lukewarm water and cleansing cream wash to remove all excess makeup and makeup remover - Soap dries out your face so rather than using soap based face-wash, try cream wash instead, it is much milder and does the same trick!
3. Pat dry with muslin cloth -
I used to call these baby cloth but later found out that it is actually called a muslin cloth. It's less abrasive on your skin, and with it being a thin layer, it is also a lot easier to clean than a thick face towel.
4. Moisturise with emollient cream -
I try to change up my moisturiser between day and night, with my choice of day cream being a moisturiser, I use an emollient cream instead in the evening. It covers the skin with a protective film to trap in the moisture on your face, something your eczema patch will lack the ability to do on its own.
Occasionally, if my eczema flares up, I do have to calm it right down with steroid cream. I find it is better to attend to the problem straight away rather than to wait it out. If your eczema is playing up, you can try applying a mix of hydrocortisone to some E45 cream (at a ratio of approximately 1:2). Once combined, apply a thick layer of it on the affected area and just let it soak.
I then just go to sleep, and the cream usually gets rubbed off of my face during my night anyway.
It is easy to assume that because it is our skin that's the problem we only need to attend to what's visible. However, after an extensive amount of research, our skin is essentially a reflection of the irritation going on within our bodies as well. One of the main theories I came to conclude was the correlation between gut health and my eczema inflammation.
Rather than having to avoid every food that might be a potential trigger, I tried an elimination diet to pinpoint what exactly is causing it. This meant that I had to avoid a chosen food group for 20 days, and see if reintroducing it into my diet for 3 days would have any impact on my eczema. If you see any symptoms, note that that is your trigger food, and you will learn to minimise your intake of that particular food group.
Here are some of my triggers highlighted in itallics, mine included:
Dairy - Dairy has never been a top pick of mine, but this comes down to the stomach discomforts it causes me, so that should have been a sign that my skin isn't a massive fan of it either.
Eggs - I had avocado and eggs for a week straight and everything went wrong. My eczema, my pimples ... everything
Corn - My Instagram bio says 'I friggin' love *insert corn emoji*, so this was sad to realise, but rather than completely avoiding it, I try to space out my corn intake to once a week rather than once a day
Artificial Sugars - I have noticed that my skin doesn't flare up if I have small doses of sugar (like what you put in your tea), but it does trigger my eczema when I have a few sugary things in a day (soft drinks, doughnuts, chocolate bars...etc)
Once I figured out what triggers my eczema, I made meal plans that involved less of them. It is noted that small doses of these trigger food groups are fine, as long as I don't have it over 3 or more days. For more ideas on what to cook for less irritated skin, you can definitely check out some of my meal preparation I do for work days.
After fixing your routine, it is highly recommended that you look out for deep replenishment. This is where I recommend facials. Although sometimes seen as a luxury treatment, it is definitely a service that is more than worth it. Beauticians not only use top end products and machines to help with your skin but also recommend the best course of treatment that you wouldn't otherwise get to try.
As my skin is really dry, deep replenishment are needed in order for it to stay hydrated. I have been around various skincare branches and my top pick recently is the Elemis at Renaissance Skincare and Beauty. It is highly relaxing and massaging Elemis into my skin does wonders (with immediate effect!). Facial treatments at places like this not only provide top-notch service but also their years of experience means they can tell you all the little tips and tricks to better treat your skin.
Take control over your (very annoying) eczema
So now you've read about how you can maintain your eczema, I suppose you can give it a go and see how your skin reacts. Let me know how it goes and share with me what are your eczema tips and tricks too :)
Lots of love,