Whilst my face can handle make-up, the rest of my body certainly cannot handle other products such as most moisturisers or face scrubs/cleansers and I thought I’d write this post to let you know how I calm my skin down when it gets angry. I suffer from eczema and acute urticaria and I don’t seem to have any particular triggers other than changes in temperature, which means my eczema is awful both summer AND winter. Such fun. I’m pretty much ALWAYS itchy. My hands are itching right now as I write this. The reason I hardly ever let anybody take full body pictures of me is because my hands essentially look like an 80yr old’s from how much steroid cream I’ve slathered on them over the years. Today, I’d say my hands are having a ‘good eczema’ day. They look like this :
Ignore the chipped nail polish, but compare my hands to your hands, as I’d imagine most of you are around my age (24). My hands look much, much more wrinkled and lined, right? It’s horrible and I hate it. These days I try to only use my prescribed ointments when I absolutely have to, to prevent them getting worse in the long run. This post is a list of other, non-prescription things I use that either help my skin or simply don’t make it worse. Because sometimes you need to feel like you’re treating yourself:
Handy Gurugu Hand Cream (Lush, £8.25)
I use this cream every single night before bed and, if I do forget, my eczema flares up quicker than you can say, ‘Boo!’. It’s an absolute life-saver product in my eyes. It is worth saying, however, that this product is not remotely suitable for anybody with a nut allergy or intolerance as it has around five different types of nut butter in it! It’s the thickest hand cream that Lush do, but it doesn’t take long at all to sink into the skin surprisingly. It’s a slightly strange cosmetic forest green colour, with a smell that isn’t particularly enticing but it absolutely does the job. A lot of credit is given to Lush’s Dream Cream for eczema but for me, personally, I feel that Handy Gurugu is much better for my eczema in terms of less skin reactivity and better overall results. One small tub of this tends to last me around two months so it’s good value too.
Body Shop Shower Gel (The Body Shop, £5)
I spent a large majority of my life believing that I could only use one particular Sanex shower gel that I hated the smell of as it was the only shower gel I could find it Boots that didn’t bring me out in hives. Simple was a write-off, despite the name and claim to all-natural ingredients and you could forget anything with a hint of perfume or colour. Then, around two years ago I discovered The Body Shop shower gels. They are amazing value at £5 per bottle (which will last anywhere between 3-10 months) and I have never ever had any adverse reaction to any scent, even the limited edition seasonal ones. My favourites are the mango and strawberry scented ones. They’re the perfect way to treat yourself and your skin without feeling any worry as to how your skin will react. Also, they’re completely cruelty-free!
Antiseptic Wound Wash Spray and Eumovate cream (Boots, around £5 each)
One thing I’ve found is brilliant when you have an incredibly itchy rash suddenly spring up is to spray it with antibacterial wound wash spray (available from the First Aid section in Boots). It helps to prevent sores from becoming infected and also offers relief in the form of a nice, cold mist. After I’ve sprayed this to prevent infection and dry itching (usually around my face and neck), I will follow with a large dollop of Eumovate cream. It is supposedly a cream used to treat the itchiness associated with insect bites, but it is incredibly good at calming rash itchiness, which, in turn, stops scratching and the general associated loss of sanity. It’s available over the counter at most Boots – just don’t say you’re using it for your face or neck as they’ll try and palm you off with hydrocortisone which will do stuff all. The only reason they worry about this is that, like prescription steroids, this cream will thin your skin over time but I’m fairly sure the risk must be much less or this product would also be prescription only. Perhaps I’m wrong, but that’s my logic. And it works so well to calm down itching that part of me doesn’t care anyway.
Using A Soft, Clean Towel As Pillow
On the changes of the seasons, as heat either comes or goes, I get really bad face and neck rashes which are my absolute least favourite kinds. What I find really helps is to put a towel over my pillow and sleep on it. I have absolutely no idea why this works, but it does. When I have my face rash, lying on a pillow case feels like a million different pin-pricks and spiders legs are running all over my face, but the effect is so much less when I sleep on a towel instead! Let me know if this works for you also as I’d love to hear that I’m not just the lone weirdo that does this!
Salted Coconut Hand Scrub (Lush, £7.95)
When my hands are really really REALLY itchy, I use this coconut and gorse-scented salt scrub from Lush. I put a polo sized lump between dry hands and really scrub it in and try to relieve the itching without actually, y’know, itching. Because of the sea salt in this scrub, it’s also excellent at preventing infections, which is something that my hands will very quickly succumb to after a few days of really bad eczema and scratching. After washing the scrub off with hot water (hot water is another thing that helps to calm down extreme itching) I’ll slather on some fast absorbing cream which should then keep all the itchy bitty bits of skin at bay for at least another 30 minutes, which is bliss.
Cotton gloves & Surgical Tape (Boots, around £3-4 each)
When it comes to night-time, and I know that I need to apply either my eczema cream, vaseline or just a general layer of moisturiser that I want to ensure soaks fully into my skin, I will use cotton gloves on my hands overnight. I buy mine from Boots and I secure them around my wrist with surgical tape to make sure I don’t take them off over the course of the night (as I always do, without fail, whenever I’ve not used it!). Sometimes, if my skin is particularly bad, I’ll wear a cotton glove to work – and ignore the many Michael Jackson comments that ensue! Just the feeling of the cotton against your skin will help to relieve any constant itching or weepiness enough to not inhibit your work day. I know it might look really odd, but I honestly don’t care anymore when I have to do this as it is such a comfort.
And that it’s for now! I could carry on with a few more, but this post is already fairly long, congrats if you got to the end! Perhaps I’ll do a part two on this in the future, if that’s something that you’d like?
Please feel free to let me know how you manage your skincare in the comments, I’d love to hear your wonder skincare products. See you soon, P. 😊