The 2021 Eczema-Friendly Gift Guide: No One Wants a Flare for the Holidays

Articles

By Angela Ballard, RN

Published On: Dec 6, 2021

Last Updated On: Dec 8, 2021

After the past year, we could all use a little comfort and relaxation this holiday season. A recent segment on NBC’s “Today” show predicted that the trend this year is “buying less but better,” and especially anything that “makes home a haven.” With this in mind, we’ve assembled a few of our favorite things to give (and receive!), whether your loved one has eczema or not (spoiler alert: we’ve even got your kids and teenagers covered in here).

Beauty & Skincare: Posh But Practical

Holiday party makeup for festive (not itchy) faces, $9-$39
We could all use some extra shimmer this year and with parties (though smaller and, ideally, vaxxed to max) making a comeback, you can give the gift of sparkle in time for New Year’s Eve. Look for fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and for-sensitive-skin on the labels. Great places to start: Bare Minerals eye shadow, Jane Iredale mineral blush and Colorescience’s non-irritating mascara. Also, Body glitter can’t be beat — but if you have eczema use Vaseline as a protective, soothing, make-it-stick base layer for your skin. 

Bath time that’s good for skin and Mother Earth, $6-$13
Eco-friendly company Lush uses real-world ingredients almost good enough to eat for its line of pampering, handmade, ethically-sourced and sustainably-packaged tub temptations. Consider Milky Bath, Butterball bath bombs, Ceridwens Cauldron bath oil, Honey I Washed the Kids soap. One more reason to love Lush: they’ve disconnected their social media channels in a statement against algorithms and for the mental health of young people.

Luxurious, soothing moisturizers & oils for sensitive skin types, $20-$180
Maintaining moisture in the skin is EVERYTHING. The practical option here is to restock the brand of moisturizer you already know your loved one needs. Consider searching the NEA Seal of AcceptanceTM Product Directory, too, to find an eczema-friendly option that has been accepted by our scientific review board. However, if your giftee likes to splurge every now and then, consider some of these more elegant options that will still lock in the skin’s moisture: EllaOla for babies and kids; Kiyamel for your besties; and vegan options Pacifica and Hello Bello for pals who prefer their products coming from plants.

Mind & Body: the Wellness Within You

The writing life, $10-$60
Studies have shown that consistent journaling can heal chronic illness, improve the immune system and increase cognitive functioning. For people with eczema, journals are also useful for tracking triggers and potential irritants. Skip the classroom paper and splurge for something posh. Rifle Paper Co. offers a five-year journal set for a gift that won’t be forgotten any time soon. And for eco-friendly gift options, consider one of these tree-free products from By The Sea Company, which repurposes industrial textile remnants as zero-waste luxury sketch books.

Annual meditation or yoga subscriptions, $35-$130
With research now showing how stress contributes to itch, digital meditation apps are becoming more popular in our community. Subscriptions to Calm or Headspace make mindfulness and improved sleep more accessible and fun. For a good stretch session, invest in Yoga with Adrienne, blending Zen with exercise; many of Adrienne’s sessions are free, but a premium service includes 700 videos for all levels of difficulty.

The Asanas latex-free, cork yoga mat, $99
When trying to get grounded, yogis deserve a stylish, natural and supportive surface that won’t irritate skin. Cork yoga mats from The Asanas are 100% biodegradable, recyclable, renewable and latex-free (bye bye allergies). Cork is naturally no-slip with grippiness that actually gets better with moisture and dissipates sweat for less clamminess. Easily cleaned with chemical-free solutions and naturally antibacterial for less stink, these mats are feel-good through and through (even down to their natural tree rubber backing). 

Crystal cove meditation cushion, $59
Let’s say someone on your list already loves meditation, but maybe they’re stuck sitting on the floor, or in the same chair they use for work. Take it to the next level in comfort with Brentwood Home’s Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion. The 100% organic cotton cover makes it a good choice for eczema-prone skin. According to contact dermatitis specialist Dr. JiaDe Yu, soft, natural fibers like cotton are less likely to cause itching and flares, and organic cotton is grown without toxic, potentially irritating chemicals.

Kids & Teens: Hands Down They’ll Love This Stuff

Everyone is awesome Lego kit, $35
Children with eczema may not realize it, but they are part of the diversity and inclusion movement. Advancing the needle to promote acceptance of all differences makes the world a better place for everyone. This beautiful, bright Everyone is Awesome Lego kit celebrates positivity and kindness and the peaceful planet we want to build together.

Kay’s Customz Dolls, $150
We’ve seen American Girl dolls add options for wheelchairs, hearing aids, diabetes and assistance dogs. But a doll with eczema is hard to find. Kay of Kay’s Customz can create just about anything and has been acclaimed for her doll with vitiligo. More customized dolls are available on Etsy from MyDiversityDolls ($66). Representation matters.

Pets the parents won’t hate you for giving, $25-$60
You know it’s not okay to give a kid a pet for the holidays without first having realistic, practical discussions with parents, right? RIGHT? Besides, for many kids with eczema, a pet isn’t in the cards, unless it’s one of those hairless cats that doesn’t exactly scream “cuddle me.” We can do better. Fortunately, there are electronic interactive pet toys like the Peek-A-Roo Interactive Panda-Roo, Fisca Robot Dog and Fur Real Friends. No flea and tick prevention required. 

Nope, these hands are not scratching (not one bit), ~$40
Fidgets are handy to help kids do something, anything, besides scratch. Consider making a basket of fidgets for home or a cute bag of fidgets for inside the car or on-the-go. Older children may be ready to learn how to knit to keep their hands occupied. Just be sure to provide them with easy instructions, as well. Perhaps a gift certificate to a class (Outschool offers virtual classes for as little as $10) or a tutorial with you? And be sure to provide 100% cotton yarn and non-nickel needles (like these bamboo ones) to avoid hand irritation.

Every now and then, it’s time for a video game, $199-$500
Screen time can have its place, especially in helping kids avoid scratching when things get bad, or for keeping little hands occupied while mom or dad slathers on the balm. Of course, ask parents how they feel about gaming devices first and if there are any games a child has been *itching* to get. Kids in the NEA community swear by Nintendo Switch and Xbox

The Itchy-Saurus: The Dino With An Itch That Can’t Be Scratched, $7|
Written by a doctor, The Itchy-Saurus: The Dino With An Itch That Can’t Be Scratched is a great book for younger children with eczema. It tells the story of a T-Rex with eczema and how his friend Doc Bill the platypus helps him soothe the itch.

Weighted blankets, $70-$200
Anxiety and sleep disturbances among adolescents can be common. Add to this the potential stress and self-consciousness of an eczema flare and our budding-world-changing teens can really toss and turn. Help them feel safer and get better rest with a cozy weighted blanket. The pressure is reported to help release serotonin as well as melatonin while reducing cortisol.  Skin-friendly options are wrapped in 100% organic cotton or bamboo like these by Bearaby and Luna Blanket.

Lifestyle: Clear and Clean

Compact, sleek air purifiers, $45-$239
Air purifiers have become one of the top-purchased home items over the past few years and can be especially helpful for those with eczema because dust mites, pet dander, mold and pollen can trigger flares. Too often, though, air purifiers look bulky and industrial. For function and style, check out Molekule Air Mini, Levoit Desktop True, The Pure Company Portable and Germ Guardian

Belgian Linen Apron, $44
Aprons are back! And they’re not your grandma’s, or maybe they are because, hey, she’s just that cool. Rough Linen’s half apron is simple, durable and classic. The 100% linen will get softer over time and is natural and hypoallergenic. It’s also eco-friendly because the flax plant, from which linen originates, requires less water and fewer chemicals as it grows than cotton. Seven colors available. 

Custom neon = new twinkly, $60-$99
Wreaths and other greenery, scented candles, ornaments pulled out of the attic … sure, they look festive, but for anyone with allergies or sensitivities they can be a bah-humbug. Light up a room with custom or merry neon instead. It’s all the rage with Google searches for custom neon signs up more than 200% this past year. 

Silk pillowcases and masks, $30-$80
Luxury and silk might as well be the exact same word. Silk is also naturally hypoallergenic and helps prevent buildup of dust mites, fungus, mold and other allergens. Wrap your giftee in shimmer and softness that’s gentle enough for even delicate faces. Silk face masks like the elegant options from Slip are fabulous stocking stuffers, especially for friends with travel on the agenda. Silk pillowcases eliminate friction on sensitive cheeks for flare-free wake-ups. Blissy’s handmade options are machine-washable.

Gifts to Charity in Your Loved One’s Name

Consider Donating to NEA
A donation to NEA in honor of your friend or family member will provide educational resources for patients and providers, advance scientific research on eczema and new treatments and allow NEA to advocate on the state and federal levels to improve the lives of people with eczema. This is great for the person who has everything and who wants to make a difference.  

Whatever you decide to do to show your love and caring this holiday season, know that when your heart is in it, that’s the most important gift of all. The simple act of giving of yourself — in any form — is powerful. Wishing you comfort and peace this season — and all year long!

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