I’ve always had problem, eczema-prone skin. My childhood included trips to the doctor, hydrocortisone, a lot of itching…and all my memories smell like Oilatum Bath Emollient. Very annoying when my little brother was subsequently born with the soft skin of an angel! Luckily though, my mum figured out what worked for me and we were able to keep a happy medium for a good few years, able to deal with any flare ups when they happened.
Fast-forward a few years though, and along came puberty. With that came heavy kohl eyeliner and Natural Collection mascara, taken off at the end of the day with the cheapest makeup remover I could buy. Adding that to the hormonal changes my skin was going through, I had a big issue. The skin underneath my eyes was raw with eczema – painful, itchy and not to mention, embarrassing. After heading to the doctor and coming back with yet more medical skin treatment, I then went through several years of trial and error on my skin.
Some new products could instantly flare my skin up, with eczema and an allergic reaction which was like little bubbles under the skin. It was a real case of ‘try and see’, as I didn’t know what was causing the reactions – I dread to think how much I spent on wasted skincare!
I’m 27 now, and it’s only the last couple of years that I feel I’ve finally cracked it. My daily skincare routine includes ONLY Garnier products. This is odd, as I wouldn’t say they’re specifically developed for sensitive skin. Even more odd, when I can’t use E45, Simple or really any brand that shouts about being good for sensitive skin. This isn’t just my face either: my whole body revolted when I covered myself head-to-toe in L’Oreal Gradual Tanner ahead of an event…that was a fun few days!
I’d really like to try some Avène or La Roche-Posay products as I’ve heard they’re amazing. However, I’m put off by the price. What do you think? Worth it? I spend ages scouring Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay looking at trendy, Instagrammable brands such as Mario Badescu and Sunday Riley…but I just don’t think my skin could take it!
My daily products:
A little extra help
I’m quite comfortable with my skin routine at the moment, but sometimes my skin will have a hissy fit if I use the toner, so I try to limit that to a couple of times a week. I’ve noticed a real difference though, in terms of how my anxiety, eating habits and stress affects my skin. This has been due to a conscious effort to LISTEN to my body more. Back in May when I first became freelance, my skin went haywire and the eczema patches under my eyes came back with a vengeance. A historic patch of eczema on my right leg (weirdly?) reared its head again and I felt really low.
My normal skincare routine just didn’t cut it, so I used working from home to my advantage. Not wearing makeup at all, letting my skin breathe and intermittently using specialist eczema and problem skin products.
This included creams that had about 1% hydrocortisone for my face and aqueous cream elsewhere. Boots do a cream that is specifically for around the eye area but I can’t use it as I’m sensitive to Lanolin. I also stopped using foaming / soapy body wash and in an epic throwback to my childhood, used an Oilatum shower gel (oh the memories!).
Side note: do NOT use Sudocrem on your eczema, especially if on your face! Not sure why it’s recommended for that but it stung me and if anything made it worse.
Luckily, I’m much more settled now and my skin has calmed down a lot. I’m using a brand called Epaderm at the moment to keep things under control. I use the ointment at night on my problem areas or after a heavy makeup day – it’s quite thick and just provides a fantastic barrier for me. I’m not sure if it’s psychological, but I feel like my skin is ‘healing’ with it on. I’ve also added this to a bath – it doesn’t create bubbles but what’s not to like when you’ve got Netflix and a glass of wine on the go? I’m back to using normal shower gel at the moment (can someone say Imperial Leather MARSHMALLOW? Hello!). However, I use the Epaderm skin cleanser in the shower twice a week to ensure my skin doesn’t get above itself and expect sweet treats constantly.
I definitely think that listening to my body and ensuring I’m treating myself kindly is the most important thing. Fingers crossed, everything is on the up at the moment.