Why Self Help (well, helps) When it Comes to Fighting Eczema
I spent this morning looking through eczema hashtags and initially I was surprised at how open people are about their skin problems, but it was comforting to see this whole online support community which is why I guess I'm sharing this.
Since I was a kid it was always something I struggled with and to this day I still get the urge to hide when I have a flare up. When I was in high school I almost quit playing tennis because the sun was so harsh on my skin and would exacerbate it. I thought I'd grow out of it but I never did. Three years ago I even quit my job on the spot because my eczema was so bad, but I just let my boss think it was cause I was a horrible person instead lol. (Hindsight that was really crazy, but that’s just how crazy eczema can make you!) When my skin is bad I tell my husband, Jaryd, not to look at me. He tells me I'm beautiful anyway, and I tell him he's full of shit then go into his phone and delete the pictures he takes of me lol.
Every time I've gone to the doctor they just tell me to slather some steroids on it and it'll go away, but it's never a permanent solution. The permanent solution is water! It's sleep! It's self care and healthy eating. It's not drinking that extra cup of coffee or taking that extra shot. The permanent solution is a commitment to your overall well-being and that alone is stressful AF haha, but not hiding it is a little weight off your figurative shoulders. Insecurities will eat at you if you let it and it will only get worse.
Below are some ways I’ve used to cope over the years and while I’m not a certified skin genius or anything it’s definitely worked for me!
Your skin is your largest organ. You can literally see when you haven’t had enough water through the form of chapped lips or a lack of elasticity. Drinking water is the single best way to keep your skin hydrated and keep flushing the toxins out of your system. Use the formula (your weight/2 = oz. of water you need) to see how much ya need!
I always find that my skin is the best when I continuously work out and let sweat seep through my skin. Sauna’s are also good for your skin which is why my favorite workout is hot yoga! The motions release toxins, chemicals and other unwanted compounds from your body all while circulating the blood flow to our skin cells. This means our skin receives more oxygen and is therefore healthier!
While getting a workout in is key to any wellness, you don’t want sweat to dry on your body. After any work out even if I’m going to shower immediately I always make sure to bring cotton pads and witch hazel with me to remove the salt that would otherwise irritate my skin. My favorite is Thayer’s Rose Witch Hazel. I run it over my face and neck and the inside of my elbows where sweat accumulates. If you break out behind your knees then use it there too.
No matter how much moisturizer you use, Eczema can be embarrassing when it continues to flake. That’s why it’s important to exfoliate. By removing the top layer of dead skin cells your lotions are able to moisturize your skin instead of just sitting on top. Ecotan Himalayan Salt Scrub and a good old loofah is my favorite. It’s chemical free and the organic fragrance is incredible! Be gentle with it and make sure to never over exfoliate.
I’ve gone to many doctors for my skin and each visit was more useless than the last. The only tip I really kept up with was making sure to put lotion on at least 5 minutes out of the shower if not immediately. I think of it like my pores’ closing time and if I don’t slather it on then I’m screwed. My favorite lotion is Aveeno because of the oatmeal’s calming effects.
As a high schooler I was constantly exposing myself to nasty chemicals that come in the form of nail polish. Little did I know this was the root of a lot of my skin problems which I didn’t figure out until a couple weeks ago when I randomly decided to paint my nails for a wedding. I got a nice rash on my face just in time for the wedding that lasted 2 weeks. Now I keep my nails short or get gel manicures since the chemicals are sealed by the UV/LED lights.
A lot of our skin problems actually stem from our gut which is why a holistic diet is important when treating your skin. This is probably THE most important and effective tip on the list. I try to incorporate as many different forms of probiotics in my diet as possible. Usually it’s all the fermented things. The best part is if you suffer from eczema then you can justify spending all your money on Kombucha!
Along with probiotics it’s good to incorporate as many anti-inflammatory goods in your diet. One that I found to be extremely effective is turmeric. When I first tried it I went overboard and my sister Riz thought I was disgusting because I would literally put turmeric on EVERYTHING. My skin was great until I got sick of it lol. Eventually I opted for turmeric pills instead. Other options could be berries, fish for omega-3 fatty acids, greens like avocados and broccoli, superfoods like mushrooms, and black cherry juice.
The main tip I have for travel is DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m kind of naive when it comes to germs in the world lol (don’t judge me for this piece of transparency), but since I’ve been traveling domestically so much this year I noticed how terrible my skin is when I’m in the air. The best thing you can do is have hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes for your bags and cellphone, and travel size lotion for when you do wash your hands and have to use soap that’s harsh on the skin.
Whenever I come in contact with chemicals I have a flare up, so my tip is don’t clean. Justkidding, but I do try my best to avoid contact. Doing dishes dries out my hands so I tried using dish washing gloves, but even those exacerbated my hands. Instead I use a sponge with a handle and very carefully avoid the soap and water. That sounds weird, but I lived with extremely red, dry, itchy hands for an entire year and they are just now healing. I know there are many chemical-free products on the market which I haven’t tried, so now I just take a shower immediately after dusting/sanitizing my home.
While I try to stick to organic products on my face, I’ve found that the zinc in sunscreen is actually really good for my skin. It helps with the skin’s flaking and keeps my face protected from the sun.
Sleep 8 hours a day
Don’t put makeup on it
Out of love and respect for coffee and tea lovers everywhere, I would never say to skip out on caffeine, but being mindful to drink caffeine in moderation can help your skin drastically. I’ve noticed that when I’m over-caffeinated it effects my natural rhythms of sleep and hydration which puts me in a depression. Nothing can make your eczema worse than feeling depressed
Moisturizers I don’t hate: first aid beauty, kiels overnight, dr. jart