Wednesday, 28 August 2013

How I Manage My Eczema

I've mentioned in quite a few reviews over the last few months that I've really been making an effort to get my eczema under control. I know this post won't be relevant to everyone, but I know from experience that eczema really can make your life an absolute misery, so I wanted to share what's worked for me in the hopes that it might help someone else out!
How I Manage My Eczema
I've had eczema since I was a baby, it cleared up (aside from the occasional flare-up brought on by pets) by the time I was about 12, and suddenly came back with a vengeance when I was 19. Since then, I've suffered with red, flaking, peeling, bleeding, itching patches on my arms and legs, particularly in the backs of my knees, my elbows and my underarms. My hands were also really bad, coming up in weeping sores and cracking on a weekly basis. It really was a nightmare. I went to the Doctor's and was prescribed Aqueous cream to hydrate my skin in general, which was ineffective, as well as Hydrocortisone cream, which is a steroid-based cream. The Hydrocortisone cleared up patches of eczema for me, but did nothing to prevent them appearing, and over time it stopped working even to treat existing patches. At this point, I realised I needed to do some research of my own.
I decided to start by cutting out Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS) in my shampoo and shower gel - and within a week, every single patch of eczema on my whole body had cleared up. So for me, SLS is the number one place to start - check shampoos, shower gels and bath products, liquid hand soap, and so on. I found it on the ingredients list of my Aqueous Cream, which explains why it was no help to me. So, whilst the flare-up patches are gone, my skin is still dry and extremely prone to itching. This is where the second phase came in; I realised what this needed to be when I tried Sudocrem on a little patch on my elbow. Overnight, my skin flared up into a weeping, orange mess; Sudocrem and I are not friends. Through trial and error, I've established that it's the Paraffinium Liquidum which is the problem for me; products containing Paraffin dry my skin out really badly, so I've just had to stop using them. Petroleum (or Petrolatum) has a similar effect, and I'm starting to think I'm sensitive to Parabens, too - products with ingredients ending in -paraben (Propylparaben, Butylparaben, etc.) also seem to dry my skin out, leaving it itchy and uncomfortable. This rules out Vaseline, Nivea, Aveeno, E45, and the vast majority of similar brands which are marketed at and recommended for eczema. Thank you, difficult, contrary skin.
So, what do I use!?
Naked Bodycare Coco de Mer Body Butter Eczema Friendly
I really recommend Naked Bodycare for products like shampoos, bath products and shower gels; all their products are SLS free and I find they're amazing for my skin. Other SLS-free brands include Organic Surge, and some of the Body Shop's ranges. Fee at Makeup Savvy did a great post on SLS-Free shampoos which is well worth a read if you're looking for one that will work for you.
It's also worth noting that if you have children, be careful what you're using to bath them and wash their hair - Johnson's Baby Shampoo contains SLS and if I use it to wash my stepdaughters' hair, my hands are not happy. Naked do do a range of SLS-free kids' shampoos which I'm intending to try out ASAP!
Liquid hand soaps are out for me, but solid bars are generally fine, as they don't contain SLS. I use solid soap at home and my eczema is now well controlled enough that if I use liquid soap when out and about, it generally doesn't cause me any problems. Washing up liquid and other cleaning products are also a problem, so I make sure I wear washing up gloves even to wash one pan, as well as whilst doing things like cleaning the bathroom.
In terms of moisturising my skin, trying to find moisturisers without Paraffin and Petroleum has been a nightmare, but generally speaking The Body Shop's Body Butters are very good (although some of their fragrances are a bit much for my skin), Naked Bodycare's Coco de Mer Body Butter is gorgeous, and I also really recommend Arora's Body Butter which is an absolute bargain!
So, whilst I wouldn't say my eczema is "cured" given all the special attention it requires, and whilst it is annoying that I generally can't wash my hair at a friend's house unless I've taken my own shampoo, it's worth the effort for the difference it's made to my life. It sounds silly, but unless the itchiness of eczema has literally kept you awake at night, you probably won't appreciate how much it's worth that I finally have it under control!
I hope you've found this post helpful, please do let me know if you have any tips or questions, I'd love to try and help!

xo
This month's Featured Blogger is Sophie Jane - have a peek at her lovely blog for reviews, recipes, and more!

18 comments:

  1. I used to get it all over my body but now it's just my face and neck :( its the worst but thankyou for the tips! i'll be sure to use them x
    http://sunshine-crush.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I'm so lucky that I've never really had it on my face. I hope some of the tips help! xo

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  2. Thank you for writing such an informative post! I suffer from eczema in various places but most badly on my hands which are constantly dry, flaky, cracked and red. I've become quite self-concious about my hands as I can't easily hide them away during the summer.
    I've tried so many products, both prescription and general handcreams but nothing is particularly effective - I will definitely look into your recommendations! x

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    1. Oh I feel your pain - my hands were the worst and people do always look at them strangely. I'd recommend handcreams that don't contain paraffin or petroleum ingredients :) xo

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  3. Great post! Thanks for the info (Y)

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  4. I have such bad eczema ! Thanks for this post

    Madeline | Its a Mads Mads World

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    1. You're welcome, hope you find some of the tips helpful! xo

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  5. I have eczema too especially on my legs and back of knees. i couldn't wear shorts and skirts :(
    I use physiogel products and oilatum soap. really helps

    www.thewallflowersecrets.com

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    1. I'm glad you've found something that helps you! :) xo

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  6. Naked's products, alongside other SLS-free products, really do help my eczema too! x

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    1. Also mine went away at around 12 and came back a few months ago at 18, it's so annoying, eh?! x

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    2. Yay love for Naked! It's weird how it randomly makes a reappearance, isn't it!? xo

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  7. I havent had eczema, I get irritated skin which can be frustrating but nothing like eczema. One of my friends really struggles with it though, I'll be sending this link over to her! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing, I hope some of my tips can help your friend out! :) xo

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  8. AMAZING post. More people need to read this. I know family members who have struggled with eczema and it is a nightmare. I am so glad you got it under control and know what irritates your skin. Thank you for the post! I will be sure to refer this post.

    Followed :)

    Xo, Michelle

    mash-elle.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thank you, I hope you find it helpful! :) xo

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