“I’ve met a guy, and he’s got eczema!”
LOL... not something you hear very often in a positive light, but when Paul and I first met, one of the things we had in common was we both had eczema.
It was so refreshing to meet someone who understood.
Paul developed eczema as a baby, mostly on his body, crooks of arms and backs of legs. His condition was severe, and his skin was so itchy and raw it would weep. My condition started when I was about 11, affecting my face.
People would stare at me when they saw me. I once heard a child say “Mummy, what happened to that lady?”, and the mother replied, “Shh, don’t be rude, she’s been burnt in a fire.” We visited many doctors, and travelled to see specialists, but were told we would have to learn just to “manage” it, and that we would never find a permanent cure.
You name it, we tried it.. Including those horrible coal tar baths and washes that are often recommended. (Honestly, the treatments you get put through make you feel like the problem is a lack of hygiene, it wasn’t very encouraging!)
One of the first things most people say when they meet me now is, “You have such great skin!” I feel so much more relaxed now that my skin isn't stressed, and it has completely changed my confidence as well. It makes me want to help others feel the same.
Today, I will share all the things that helped Paul & I break the sensitised skin cycle (after 35 years for Paul and 20 years for me).
We have now both enjoyed great skin for 15 years!
FORGET ABOUT FINDING THE MAGIC CREAM:
Hands up who's spent hundreds of dollars and has a drawer full of creams and washes that didn’t work?!
When you have eczema, it feels like the eternal quest to find the magic cream to fix it.
We have found the first step is less about WHAT TO USE, and more about WHAT TO ELIMINATE that feeds the problem.
Your skin renews itself every 21 days, so there is no reason you cannot break the cycle.
THINGS TO AVOID:
- Liquid paraffin based products
- Hot temperature baths & showers
- Scratching & clothing that scratches like wool (more on this below)
- Fragrance in products
- SLS-Foaming agents
- Chemical based makeup
- Foods that are potential allergens for you (for many people wheat and dairy are big triggers)
- Dust, Mould & Mildew
One of the biggest contributors I have seen that feeds the problem is products based on liquid paraffin.
Did you know that Sorbelene, and the majority of the products you find in pharmacies for eczema, are based in liquid paraffin, a bi-product of petroleum?
(“Therapeutic” products don’t require the full ingredients disclosure on the label, only the active ingredients, so you might not even know.)
In the short term they appear to help because they feel moisturising, but in the long term they feed the cycle because they smother the skin and stop the new skin cells regenerating.
(WATCH OUR VIDEO TO FOLLOW FOR MORE ADVICE)
HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION!
Initially the important thing is really great hydration, and also protecting your skins natural oils.
Conditions like eczema are are generally a result of loss of our protective natural oils. This is why it goes away for a few days, then comes back.
DO YOU KNOW WHY OUR SKIN'S NATURAL PROTECTIVE OILS ARE SO IMPORTANT?
- Waterproofs and lubricates our skin
- Kills germs, smothers viruses
- Our sebum creates a protective barrier against environmental factors.. wind, dust, pollutants
- Holds water into our skin. If you have dry skin it will quickly also become dehydrated
WHAT CAN MAKE YOU LOSE YOUR NATURAL OILS?
- Hot baths and showers
- Soaps & Body Washes- even natural ones will remove some of your oils, so only use them on parts of the body you really need, under arms etc, to protect your oils until your skin is back to balance
WHAT ROLE DO MOISTURISERS PLAY?
Your moisturiser will take the place of your natural oils until your body can get it back to balance. Initially you will need to moisturise vigilantly.
I recommend apply, then reapply 5 minutes later to layer the hydration.
Your skin will drink the first application, then the second layer will stay on top to protect. Moisturise at least morning and night, and if it is on your hands, also during the day.
PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND FOR THE BODY:
A thick, protective, breathable organic triple butter blend, with healing essential oils.
Used very gently 1-2 times per week to exfoliate skin cells and allow the hydration to absorb. Treat the body as a whole, don't focus on the affected areas.
PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND FOR THE FACE:
- Cleanses skin while protecting its natural oils. Soothing organic rice milk and yucca.
"MUST HAVE"..This iKOU Favourite includes Baobab & Jojoba to protect, heal, while Neroli calms both skin and mind.
PRODUCTS FOR SKIN IN A SEVERE AND ACTIVELY ITCHY STATE:
I’ve seen many, many people get great results from the products mentioned above in conjunction with eliminating the products that potentially feed the problem. Sometimes though the skin is in a “crisis condition”. For many years now I have created a “Wet dressing Mask” in the form of an "Eczema Body Kit" that I make up to order for individuals who needed something a little more than just hydration/elimination. We’ve never offered it in the stores, but I am happy to announce that as of today, I will make it available to be made fresh to order via our online shopping site.
Basically, there’s two parts to the mask, liquid lavender hydrosol and colloidal oatmeal, which you mix fresh into a paste. You apply the mask to the affected area, then cover it in warm, wet face cloths. You then wrap the are in a dry towel, lie down and let it absorb for 10 minutes. While it's on, every person I know that has tried this tells me it gives them INSTANT relief from the itching, and that they can feel the difference after the very first time they use it. It’s so soothing.
When you rinse it off with warm water, you then pat the area dry with a clean towel and dust a little of the powder on. You do this each day for about 3 days. There’s more instructions that come with the kit, and we also include a bottle of pure Jojoba Oil to protect your skin from water in the shower, as well as to moisturise morning and night. We’ve had such great feedback in this breaking the cycle for people, and it is really calming too!
If your skin itches.. don’t scratch it. When we use our nails to scratch we can cause fungal infections, and obviously we are removing the skins protective layers. Instead, just press the itchy area firmly with the back of your hand, it will stop it itching. You can teach children to do this too, instead of stressing them by telling them not to scratch.
When treating your skin, treat it as a whole.
This was a game changer for me: Don’t focus on the area when applying your skincare. Apply creams concentrating on the feeling of the relaxation of the muscles of the entire face and body, not the skin, so you can imagine feeling balanced all over.
Foods that support healthy skin and gut digestion: Bringing mindfulness to what we eat and drink can also support the healing. Eliminate processed foods, drink water with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and include lots of antioxidant rich foods like berries and greens. Nuts are a great source of essential fatty acids which are great for your skin also. A spoonful of ferments with your lunch or dinner also assists with a healthy gut.
And lastly.. Don’t give up!
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR SKIN...
Paul and I, and MANY MANY other people who have followed the tips in this blog are now enjoying the relaxed feeling of having healthy skin that is eczema free!
Naomi Whitfeld is the Founder & CEO of iKOU.
Her passion for inspiring others to live a life of Wellness & Joy shines through in everything she does.
As an intuitive Aromatherapist, Naomi incorporates Mind & Body benefits into all she creates, believing we respond best when we treat as a 'whole".
Winner of the Telstra Business Womens Award for "Entrepreneur of the Year", Naomi has a particular interest in supporting busy women to enjoy rituals of self-care on a daily basis.