Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living with an enemy...

Eczema has been my nemesis as long as I can remember. I always tried to cover up my arms in paranoia so the kid next to me wouldn't yell out, "GROSS, WHAT'S THAT ON YOUR ARM??" Unfortunately, the cause is unknown but it seems to strike in infants and children from families either cases of eczema, allergies, and/or asthma. I am still paranoid about my daughter's skin because unfortunately my sisters and I have all three. The lucky infants can outgrow the condition early childhood while the rest of us even luckier souls will have eczema most of our lives. So not only is there a clear explanation what causes eczema but there isn't a cure either. If you do suffer from this skin condition there are many ways you can control the itching!

The following items are used to control my eczema. This may not work for you. I do recommend that you speak with your physician or dermatologist if you suspect that you or your child may have eczema. It may itch first before the rash even appears - it's prevalent on hands, arms, feet and face. I lived with an eczema patch right above my lip for years as a kid and it can be really soul crushing. Luckily, it went away right as I began middle school - good thing since building healthy self-confidence is challenging as it is when you are a 12 yr. old girl!If you do have a rash chances the area is very dry, inflamed, thickened or scaley and in the most severe cases oozing. Sorry, it's not pretty and it is down right miserable, I know because I had it pretty bad as a kid and I've had a few nasty flare-ups as an adult!

Other culprits that can lead to a flare-up:
Extreme weather conditions (cold or heat - I experienced an awful flare-up during an unbearable muggy visit to Oahu)
Animal Dander
Rough/course materials

Luckily I have found items at my local drugstore that have helped. I use to use heavily perfumed body wash but now I have broke the habit and I use Dove's Deep Moisture body wash:

(Dove soap is the recommended soap to me by Dermatologists everywhere)
As for my body lotion:

(a huge fan of Curel lotions)
 Curel's Itch Defense for Dry, Itchy Skin and what sold me - the National Eczema Association seal  of acceptance. In just one week I did feel a difference in my skin. No it wasn't soft as my daughter's but it didn't itch as much as it use to and it did feel a bit softer. I found myself using my prescribed body cream, Triamcinolone Acetonide (0.1%) less and the dry patches on my skin were starting to soften. I have since switched to the regular Curel (Daily Moisture) lotion and my skin is starting to itch more again. I can't wait to finish this bottle so I can buy another bottle of Itch Defense formula. For minor itching 1.0% Hydrocortisone at the drug stores works well - I'm a fan of the ointment. I should probably keep a small tube in my makeup bag since I get little rashes on my fingers from constant hand washing. Other lotions that have kept my skin itch free - Lubriderm and Eucerin. I have used Aquaphor ointment on my daughter as a newborn for the dry patches I have found on her skin. I love that ointment.

(The seal that won me over)

On my face I have tried prescription strength hydrocortisone (2%) and when that stopped working I went on Protopic. I know that there has been some controversy over this product and whether or not it is linked to Cancer but it is prescribed when nothing else works. At the time my prescription expired I wanted to find an alternative. I was surprised that Chanel Hydramax + Active Moisture serum/Hydramax + Gel Cream worked on my skin just fine. But of course eczema would win this round and I had to go back to see a dermatologist. Currently, I am using Protopic on the areas of my face that I'm most dry and prone to get an eczema rash and I still use Hydramax + Gel Cream on my face for day/night. I do exfoliate but I only do it once a week - usually Saturdays. I am currently using MAC's Volcanic Ash. It hasn't caused a rash but then again I use it sparingly. As a face wash I have been using Philosophy's Purity Made Simply Face. I also have to test many liquid foundations/tinted moisturizers before committing to purchasing a bottle. Currently Laura Mercier's Oil-Free primer/Tinted moisturizer is a duo that keeps my skin calm and provides great light-medium coverage. NARS sheer glow, Chanel TI compact and Burberry Sheer Luminous Fluid Foundations have also worked - no itching or rashes.

And as for my lips - that's entirely a whole different situation in itself. Because of my experience with eczema right above my mouth, I am constantly concern that this is going to come back. There are certain brands that will leave my top lip line itchy, irritated and peeling after just a day of wearing. That's why I make sure I purchase from stores that will take back used cosmetics that causes skin irritation - I can't always that that challenge. I was very lucky that Dolce and Gabbana didn't fail me (SAKS doesn't give refunds for used makeup returns). This is a process I'm still trying to work through. I am lucky that my new buys (D&G, Burberry and the MAC Kissable Colour formula) have kept my lips pretty happy. The lip balm I always use is Kiehl's

So yes eczema sucks but you can work through it. My daughter's skin is still doing well - then again she's only 2 1/2 and if I do find that first itchy, dry patch of skin on the crook of her elbow I'll be ready for it!

For more information:


  1. If you ever want to try a natural remedy, people in Hawaii have been using Kukui Nut oil for years. I just purchase 2 different types for my aunty who has eczema and likes to use the oil after she showers.

    Here's a couple of links: http://www.oilsofaloha.com/testeczema.php (testimonials from those who suffer from eczema)

    This one is more pure with rosemary extract added:

    This one seems to have a few more additives:

  2. Ooh thanks, Mylani! I'll have to check that out.

  3. I have terrible eczema too. I've had ever since I was young.

    Have you tried Clinique Comfort on Call cream? It's specifically made for people who have allergy-irritated skin and eczema. I discovered it about a year ago and I have not stopped using it. I get really bad eczema on my eyelids and forehead and this cream is a godsend. A bit pricey around $37ish but 100% worth it and much cheaper than Chanel.

    I also use Protopic but only sparingly because I've started to get discoloration on my inner arms. I'm not sure if it's from the protopic or maybe just excessive itching over the years and using other types of topical steroids.

    I also use CeraVe facewash and body cream from the drugstore which is recommended by dermatologists for eczema. Works great for me!


  4. Thanks Katie! I'll have to look into that. The last time I tried a Clinique moisturizer it ended badly because of my eczema - I think it was their classic Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. You are also the second person to comment on that CeraVe lotion - I'll have to check it out.

  5. I'm so happy you did an eczema post, represent! But it's weird because during the last couple of months, I've been having bad eczema patches in new places! Sigh, I thought I've outgrown it. It's a good thing Dad hooked me up with some of Oma's eczema medicine when I was in Riverside last year!

  6. Of course - I have to represent for the eczema stricken! Just to let 'em know 'WE'RE STILL PRETTY!!'

  7. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm) may be another solution to itchy throat. i know a lot of people use it, its also non alcoholic, though it's effectiveness is not as good as alcohol based cough medicine, but it's still good to use on not so serious itchy throat. Hope you are getting well soon!!!