Getting eczema during high school was a turning point for me in the way I viewed my personal care products. Rather than just buying anything off the shelf at the drug store, I found myself pouring over the ingredient list to make sure that there was no fragrance, mineral oil, SLS, or anything that could set off my sensitive skin.
In hindsight I’m grateful that I educated myself early on about what ingredients to avoid since it’s affected my purchasing decisions on beauty products ever since and also helped with my skin health. But at the time I remember hating how my skin just won’t behave so I could just use the products everyone else was using without turning red or developing a rash.
Eczema first appeared on my fingers when I was sixteen. I remember it being so itchy and terrible to look at. I would wrap my fingers in band-aids to avoid looking at it which was a mistake since that just contributed to drying out my skin and intensifying the itch.
Despite moisturizing frequently during classes, my condition didn’t change. During the wintertime I also developed eczema on my body as well. The itching drove me crazy. My doctor prescribed hydrocortisone to help with the itch but it also ended up thinning out my skin too. It made me feel incredibly depressed that I had a skin condition that didn’t seem to have an easy fix it cure.
I started googling online about the best ways to treat eczema. People talked about keeping a humidifier in their room to prevent excessive dryness, doing oatmeal and milk baths, taking fish oil supplements…it seemed like there was a lot of people out there who had to deal with the same symptoms but rather than feeling a strong sense of solidarity, my anxiety deepened as I began to realize there was no one fail safe solution to treat this.
The first thing I did was make a list of things I used on a daily basis that could be affecting my skin. And upon my research, although I’ve used Dove soap for years, I knew I had to cut that out of my routine along with a few other products.
Over the years I tried a bunch of things to treat my eczema but below are the three products that have made the biggest difference in my skin. Hope these will be helpful to you too.
Pictured above is the bar soap I’ve been using for the past few years. I can’t remember exactly how I discovered this soap but what impressed me most was it’s long heritage (it’s been around since 1688) and how it contained mostly vegetable oils and no animal additives.
These hand crafted French soaps didn’t contain a single ingredient that I’ve learned to avoid.
I bought my first soap at at a boutique called Jacob and Sebastian and was amazed by the results when I tried it that night. Not only was my skin left feeling moisturized but after a few uses my eczema actually went away. I couldn’t believe it. After struggling with this condition for years, I was actually seeing results without any side effects. The eczema patches I developed on my body and my hands disappeared and finally washing my hands was not this excruciating event anymore. I remember a few years later going to Paris for vacation and popping into a drug store for a few items I forgot to pack. As I turned the corner I remember seeing entire rows of Savon De Marseille products on the shelves. If only our drug store products in Canada had the same set of standards as the ones carried in France!
If you are interested in trying this item you can find it at Jacob and Sebastian, Belle de Provence, and a few other boutique stores around Toronto. Yes these soaps cost a bit more than your average drugstore soap but they are worth the investment and do last longer.
2. Olive Oil and Sugar Body Scrub
This is actually something that I make at home. It’s cost effective and does wonders for your skin (full DIY recipe here). All you need are two ingredients: olive oil to moisturize and brown sugar as your natural exfoliant. I make this once a week to prevent my skin from drying out (it’s also great to use right before you shave your legs).
What I like about making body scrubs at home is that I have more control of the ratio. So if I want more of an exfoliating scrub I’ll add more sugar into the mixture but if I want something more moisturizing I’ll add more oil. Applying this scrub regularly helps at keeping my eczema at bay and allows my body lotion to penetrate and absorb more easily.
Tip: Can also work as a foot scrub and as a lip scrub!
3. Graydon Skincare’s The Putty
This last item is more of a recent discovery. I’ve been using this face cream for the past year or so (and full disclosure, yes I do work here but my opinions are my own) and am genuinely impressed by this product.
It’s a green beauty product that contains natural ingredients like turmeric (great for inflammation and redness). I enjoy using this on my hands and on dry patches a lot and find the smell really soothing.
Which products have helped with your eczema?