Members of the NEA community share what their eczema took from them and also what it gave them back.
Published On: Nov 19, 2020
Last Updated On: Feb 2, 2021
Big, beautiful eyes. Gorgeous lips and a smile. A confident and soothing voice. Michelle Phan, famous beauty blogger and businesswoman.
I admired her poise and confidence in her makeup tutorials. I watched with fascination as she applied foundation to her skin, then mascara, then lipstick and so on.
Slowly, my tomboy-self learned the terminology of the beauty world. I learned what “to bake” meant and what “highlighter” was.
I admired Michelle’s confidence and philosophy on makeup: the goal wasn’t to hide your features and imperfections, but rather bring out your own natural beauty.
However, my debutante into the makeup and beauty world was far from perfect. At first, I didn’t believe I had any beauty to accentuate.
In order for me to begin wearing makeup, I had to accept myself. That meant accepting the inflammations, the itches, the skin flakes (which were often mistaken for food on my face). I had to embrace it all.
I had to accept that I am beautiful regardless of my eczema. It was only when I accepted and embraced myself that I could feel comfortable and confident wearing makeup.
Because I prefer a more natural look, I really focused on my skin and managing the inflammation, which generally occurred on my upper lip area and in between my eyebrows.
Like many with eczema, I talked to a dermatologist and had some specific anti-inflammatory creams prescribed. Additionally, I also changed my diet and avoided foods that made me prone to inflammation.
Now, for me personally, I always preferred a simple skincare routine just because my skin was so sensitive and prone to inflammation.
My skincare routine starts in the morning with a warm shower. All I use is CeraVe face wash. However, I don’t go straight into washing my face. I stand in the shower and let the steam open up the pores on my face.
Before I even use the face wash, I like to scrub my face and get any surface dirt off. From there, I pump the CeraVe facewash on my fingertips and scrub in a circular motion for about a minute or two. Then, (depending on my mood), I either scrub the facewash off with water, or I simply splash it on.
After this, I pat my face leaving it slightly damp. When my face is slightly damp, it allows for thick creams to smoothly go on.
After I apply the CeraVe cream as a base moisturizer, I then apply the lightweight lotion and a dab of Aquaphor. This creates multiple layers of moisture that help keep my skin hydrated throughout the day.
My nighttime routine is pretty much the same, except instead of using my fingers, I use a Clarisonic Brush with the CeraVe. I highly recommend getting one of these because they are excellent for a thorough clean, and they help with exfoliation.
Now, depending on your skin type you may need to adjust and add in other products but always have simplicity in mind.
Now onto the exciting part! The makeup!!! Because of my sensitive skin and Michelle Phan’s philosophy, I prefer a very natural look.
The name of the game is to bring out your natural beauty. What I often like to do is to accentuate any of my natural, prominent features.
For example, the features that stand out the most for me are my big, doe eyes. To bring out my eyes, I like to make sure my eyebrows are well trimmed and defined. (I usually have them threaded or plucked).
My eyebrow hairs are naturally dark, so I don’t need to color them. However, if I feel like my eyebrows are too thin, I often put Aquaphor on them every night for a week or two. (I swear this works, and it helps your eyebrows grow!)
From there I like to curl my eyelashes and add a little MAC mascara, which makes my eyes pop even more. For my lips, I like to put on my Clinique Brown Black Honey Lip Tint (which gives me those “just ate a popsicle” lips) and highlight my cupid’s bow with some Dazzleglass Lip Gloss.
To protect my skin, I use the Shiseido Liquid Sunscreen, which I highly recommend because, unlike most foundations, it isn’t pasty.
To add in a natural highlight, I use my Shiseido sunscreen stick highlighting mainly my nose bridge, eyebrow bone and my cheek bones.
Because my skin is sensitive and my eczema is mild, I don’t need any foundation. But for those who want extra coverage, I highly recommend Shiseido and Clinique BB Creams or light foundations. I wouldn’t recommend anything heavy because it may irritate already-prone eskin.
At the end of the day, it’s important to realize you are beautiful with or without makeup. Believing in yourself and your natural beauty is the most important thing.
A wise woman named Michelle Phan once said, “Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty, It’s a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside.” So have fun and hold your head up high.
Having struggled with eczema since birth, beauty blogger Brianna Dinh understands how damaging it can be to a person’s self-esteem. To learn more, visit her blog.