How NEA Ambassador Christy Cushing tracked down her most elusive eczema trigger and changed her diet and lifestyle for the better.
Published On: Aug 29, 2019
Last Updated On: Nov 4, 2020
I’ve had eczema and several other issues with my skin since the time I was born.
What’s most frustrating about a flare-up is that I sometimes cannot pinpoint the exact trigger. Was it because I didn’t get enough sleep? Was it because of something that caused me a lot of stress? Was it the cute bottle of body lotion I recently tried? Was it all exacerbated by stressing over the stress of eczema?
Yeah, you get the point.
I was so happy to stumble upon National Eczema Association and read about other’s stories and experiences with this skin condition.
Here’s a list I’d like to share, which mentions some of the products which have helped me manage my eczema flare-ups. Most of these cost $US20 or less. I hope they come in handy to other people with eczema.
1. Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory and helps to heal burns…which comes in handy when I get a flare-up. For an aloe vera gel to work effectively, you want one that’s pure and of high quality. This one by Badger Balm is 96% pure aloe juice with a short list of other ingredients.
2. Oatmeal soap
Many shower gels and mainstream bar soaps can create a burning or itching sensation on my eczema sores. Oatmeal Bar Soap by Sappo Hill is a gentle, fragrance-free bar soap that cleanses effectively without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
3. Hair products for sensitive scalps
I’ve read that a sensitivity to parabens produces classic allergic contact dermatitis reactions. That’s why I try to avoid parabens whenever possible. Hair products can affect each person’s scalp differently, but these are two that work for me.
Herbal Essences Micellar Shampoo doesn’t make my skin itch. According to the manufacturer, it is silicone-free, paraben-free and colorant-free, and made with at least 90% natural-origin ingredients. Paul Mitchell Shampoo One is another hair product that doesn’t give my skin problems. It’s gentle, color safe and paraben-free.
4. Paring down your skincare routine
I’ve had to significantly pare down my skincare and haircare routine as a result of eczema. Plant Therapy has a range of essential and carrier oils. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right one that works for you.
I like Plant Therapy: Clear Complexion because it is an effective moisturizer that doesn’t have a long list of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. A little goes a long way— one to two drops for the whole face works!
5. Avoiding fragrances
There are 3,163 ingredients hiding behind the word “fragrance,” so you definitely want to make sure you avoid them during a flare-up. NEA’s product directory gives you the option of excluding ingredients when you search for products that are safe for eczema skin.
6. Avoiding harsh household cleaners
A harsh dish detergent, no matter how wonderful it may smell, usually ends up being a nightmare on my eczema-prone hands. Method Cleaners and Dish Soap takes great care in ensuring the safety and quality of their products, from what the bottles are made of to a “dirty ingredients list” that they don’t ever use.
I use their household cleansers to wipe down my keyboard and mouse as I use these items a lot on a daily basis. P.S. I use a long-handled brush if I’m manually washing the dishes
7. Avoiding food triggers
There are certain foods that make my skin more reactive. These include eggs, tomatoes and dairy. I try to avoid these when my skin seems to be more sensitive than usual. I also avoid alcohol and caffeine.
8. Chamomile teal
I’ve always loved drinking tea. Chamomile is one of my go-tos when I need something relaxing. It helps me feel less stressed during an eczema outbreak.
9. Vitamin D
I’ve been incorporating vitamin D supplements into my diet.
10. Water Filters
Last but not least, I’ve been investing in some water filters in my home to help accelerate the healing of my eczema. Studies have shown that hard water damages our protective skin barrier and could contribute to the development of eczema.
On top of these tips, remember to live a healthy lifestyle that includes some form of regular exercise, quality sleep, plenty of hydration and a range of green vegetables. The effort is worth the result of calm, clear, non-irritated and happy skin!