I’ve always had eczema all over my hands, but occasionally it creeps onto my face too. There I was, two nights ago minding my own business, watching Crufts, when my forehead started to itch. Then, it started weeping, and then the next day I had itchy welts all over my forehead, down the right hand side of my face and down my neck. It itched like crazy, no make-up would stick to it for longer than 6 hours and I felt generally grim. But, sadly I’m used to sudden flare-ups like this, and I thought I’d share my rash S.O.S skincare routines with you, in case they help anybody else!
First things first, if you’re prescribed a steroid cream for your eczema/dermatitis (like Betnovate) do NOT, I repeat, do NOT use it on your face, as it thins the skin and will age your skin prematurely. This may seem like ages away when you’re 18, but speaking as someone who has wrinkly hands and wrinkly boobs (just giving you the brutal truth here) at 23 from over-using steroid creams, I would never use these on my face. You do not want a prematurely wrinkled face. You just don’t. If you really, desperately feel the need to put something out of a medical tube on your face, let it be 1% hydrocortisone ointment (not cream) and only do so for 2 days maximum. If your rash is anything stronger than contact dermatitis, hydrocortisone won’t so much as touch it though, be warned. It really is better to keep the area moisturised and well-cared for, rather than medicating it.
Secondly, I always take my makeup off much earlier than I would usually when I have a flare-up (as soon as I get in, rather than just before bed) and I would use cotton wool pads dipped in clean, warm water to remove my makeup, with just a dash of Lush’s Ultrabland cleanser to remove the last vestiges of product. I would also use a facial cleansing scrub twice a day, morning and night, to help remove the dead skin without exfoliating. I use Lush’s Let The Good Times Roll as it has maize flour for an extremely gentle exfoliating effect – plus it smells like toffee popcorn! Straight after washing my face, I would apply a coat of Lush’s Elbow Grease to the affected areas, which is a moisturising stick containing coconut oil, cupuacu butter, murumuru butter and illipe butter along with many other oils. Instead of this, you could use plain coconut oil. Or Lush’s Ultrabalm, at a push, which is jojoba oil, candelilla wax and rose wax. Do not use Vaseline, as petroleum jelly convinces your body that it doesn’t need to produce natural oils anymore, which will lead to MANY more dry patches and itchy rashes in the future. I decant some of my Elbow Grease stick into a small pot that I can carry around in my handbag/at work and I reapply a coating of this ointment to the dry patches on my face whenever they need moisture, usually once an hour. Literally, just a tiny dab of product, using a compact mirror, will do the job. This product is so quickly absorbed that nobody will notice that you’ve just put goo on your face, trust me. And it will do your rash the world of good to be properly and continuously moisturised. As part of my nightly routine, once the Elbow Grease has set in, I would apply Lush’s Dream Cream to the entirety of my face, as the oat-milk in this will calm my skin and ensure the rash doesn’t spread. Usually, this moisturiser is far too heavy to be used on the face, but when my skin is incredibly dry/patchy/angry, it works wonders.
As you have probably gathered, I rely heavily on Lush products during a flare-up. I stay away from more chemically-based products, such as my Clarins serum and moisturiser, as I never know what’s going to make the rash worse, as my itchy rash-y skin is much more sensitive to products than my skin would usually be. As Lush is completely natural, I feel I’m safer to use their products when I don’t trust my skin to behave.
Other tips for controlling a rash:
- Wear your hair up. Mine is currently in a donut-bun, with all of it scraped off my face. I didn’t use hairspray, so as not to accidentally get some on my forehead rash, so I used one of those floral string headbands you can get in Claire’s/New Look/ Primark to keep my hair pulled back off my face.
- Be mindful of the makeup that goes on your rash. Ideally, wear none at all, but I appreciate that that’s not practical for most of us. Use light, water-based foundations such as MAC’s Face and Body, and do not apply powder or concealer to the areas directly where the rash is, as they will only cause dry patches to occur.
- Sleep on a towel. I don’t know why this helps, but it really does. For me, this reduces the itching sensation to a minimum and you don’t get that horrible claggy feeling when most of your serum/moisturiser transfers into your pillow overnight.
- Don’t try any new products that you haven’t used when your skin was good. If you’re going to have a reaction to something, it would be better for healthy skin to bear the brunt of the discomfort.
I appreciate that rashes are truly horrible. Trust me, I get it. I am so itchy right now – I feel like a whole colony of ants are running over my neck and face. But flare-ups will end and your skin will get better again. Just keep it moisturised, and stay away from new and harsh products.
Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow! P