Skincare routine for managing eczema

Filed Under (cleanser, mask, moisturiser, scrub, serum, skincare, toner, treatment) by rinnah on 23-09-2013

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Ah eczema. It’s the bane of my life and has been around for 17 odd years now – more than half my lifespan! It only became a huge issue for me over the past three or so years when various stresses in my life combined to push me over the edge and eczema started to affect my face. Naturally, I panicked and started running all over like a headless chicken, throwing money at any product that even remotely claimed to be for sensitive and eczema affected skin.

So I tried stuff from Dior, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome, Kiehl’s, Dermalogica, drugstore brands and even to the extent of buying many expensive natural/organic products from overseas to try and manage my skin. Sometimes it worked for a while and then it would stop working. Other times it just greatly aggravated my skin to the point where I started thinking I would never look ‘human’ again.

Dry skin
Waiting out a flare-up in December 2012

Anyway, the point of this blogpost is not to moan about how horrible eczema can be and how it affects me but to note down the following skincare routine – I’ve been following various permutations of this routine for the past 5 months and I think I’ve found the right combo that helps me in managing my eczema.

Back to Basics
Eczema flare-ups can last anywhere between a week to a month for me, depending on the severity of the flare-up and whether or not I’m on doctor’s prescribed medication. Symptoms of an ongoing flare-up include itching, swelling, redness, inflammation, weeping, crusting and even bleeding when the skin splits.

Whenever I have a flare-up, I stop ALL skincare to keep from aggravating my skin. I only wash my face with water in the mornings. Occasionally at night, I will use Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose gentle hydrating cleanser. I can get away with this very basic cleansing routine because I don’t use any makeup at all during a flare-up.

pai skincare camellia & rose cleanser
Image credit to Pai Skincare

After cleansing, I will apply calendulis cream from The Eczema Company on the patches of eczema. Calendulis cream is made from the calendula flower and is almost as effective as a cortisone / steroid cream and better in the long run as it is natural. This is so gentle I can even use it around and all over my eyelids, because the eczema tends to breakout there.

Healing and Treating
Once my skin has passed the swelling/weeping stage and starts drying out, it will start to peel. I will vaguely resemble either a bad sunburn victim or a reptilian creature, depending on how you want to look at it. There will still be itching, redness, inflammation, crusting, flaking/peeling and also bleeding when the new skin tears or splits.

No change to the cleansing and moisturizing routine from the basics above. I add on one extra step to aid with the healing process by using Leaders Insolution aloe vera sheet mask nightly, after cleansing with the Pai cleanser and before the Eczema Company calendulis cream. Once a week I will switch from using the Pai cleanser to Mario Badescu enzyme cleansing gel for some gentle exfoliation to aid in removing the flakes and dead skin cells.

Maintenance
After all of the skin flakes have dropped/peeled off, my skin will still have red/discoloured patches where the eczema outbreaks were. Sometimes the dryness and flaking will continue on these patches for a period of time even after the rest of my face is back to normal.

Sulwhasoo first care activating serum
Image credit to Sulwhasoo

As my skin gradually regains normality, oil production returns. Hello shiny nose! When this occurs, I will cleanse my skin with Sulwhasoo gentle cleansing foam in the night and use the Pai cleanser in the mornings if needed. I continue to use the Mario Badescu gel once a week for exfoliation and mild brightening effects. After cleansing I will use Sulwhasoo first care activating serum all over my face, followed by the Eczema Company calendulis cream on dry patches. At night I continue to use either the Leaders Insolution AC-dressing sheet mask or the Hyaluronic sheet mask after cleansing and before the Sulwhasoo first care serum. Which mask I use depends on whether I want to address redness (AC-dressing) or hydration (Hyaluronic) issues, but most of the time I will use the AC-dressing one as I find it is more effective for me.

Leaders Insolution AC-Dressing Skin Clinic Mask

Adding the step of a nightly sheet mask was when I really started to see major improvement in my skin in terms of healing time and also in spacing out the downtime between flare-ups. I must note though that my skin only seems to work with Leaders Insolution sheet masks as I attempted to use My Beauty Diary once and had a mild flare-up on the following day.

Adding the Extras
Once I’ve gotten my skin to the stage where I’m pleased with it, I usually start to add on what I term as ‘extras’ to my skincare routine. So far I’ve found that my skin seems to adore the Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure perfecting water and the TimeTreasure perfecting emulsion in addition to the first care serum at night. In the day time I use Sulwhasoo Renodigm Ex dual care cream for mild UV protection.

Sulwhasoo renodigm ex dual care cream
Image credit to Sulwhasoo

So that’s it – what I’m currently using to manage my skin. While each individual has unique peculiarities and what works for me might not work for someone else, I hope that this post may be of use at the very least to give hope to anyone suffering from eczema.

September 2013
Present-day in September 2013

Empties for the months of April, May and June 2013

Filed Under (cosmetics, haircare, nail polish, scrub, skincare, treatment) by rinnah on 01-07-2013

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OK, so I finally got my act together this past quarter and managed to finish/use up/throw out/give away some stuff. Go me. Hahah.

OPI Drip Dry

This is a bottle of OPI Drip Dry that I bought years ago with the nail polish that started it all – OPI’s iconic I’m Not A Waitress. This is an empty that’s not really an empty that I managed to finish. In fact I think I only ever used it a few times and even then mostly on my toes when I gave myself a pedicure. It’s an empty only because it totally and completely dried up without my knowledge. (I know, I know, I’m a terrible hoarder.) I don’t really have a need to use an additional product to hasten manicure/pedicure dry time (not with my must have Seche Vite top coat around) so I wouldn’t be repurchasing anytime soon.

I also finished up the last remnants of a tube of Dynavate-N, which is a steroid cream that I use to control my eczema. Not an empty that I’m proud of but it’s a necessary evil at this point in time. To give you an idea of the amount of steroids I’m on, I have multiple tubes of this cream – with me in my handbag, one at office, two in my room in Singapore and one at home in Malaysia. They’re all in various stages of use so I kinda regularly finish it off.

The other item on the empty list but not pictured is a tube of Colgate toothpaste – pretty much self-explanatory, that one.

pure-nutraceuticals-paw-paw-ointment

Passed on a practically new tube of Pure Nutraceuticals pawpaw ointment that I opened but couldn’t stand the smell of – looks like fermented pawpaw and I are not meant to be best buds after all. I couldn’t verify the efficacy of this product on my eczema because I just couldn’t get past the smell.

Last empty for the quarter was again a bottle of Lactacyd – another self-explanatory empty.

wax02

Threw out a barely used tub of Lucido-l hair wax (forgot to photograph it before it went into the trash so here’s a standard product shot) – remnant leftover from my buzz/undercut hairstyle last year as I’m now growing it out into a slightly longer bob. I have a mild suspicion that using the hair wax (or any hair styling product) aggravated my eczema because it was worse wherever my hair touched/covered my face, especially around my eyes. It also made my scalp itchy and flaky. The silly things we do in the name of vanity and fashion!

8850007541691

Passed on a tube of Neutrogena Deep Clean blackhead eliminating daily scrub that I bought but again, hardly used. Even though I only used it for my nose a few times, it felt too harsh for my sensitive skin so eventually I stopped using it. If you have oily skin it may work for you though, as other bloggers love it. I’m starting to wonder if Neutrogena and I are not meant to be or if I’m picking all the wrong products from this brand.

It seems as though I’ve made progress but compared with the number of products I bought in the corresponding period, the input is far greater than the output. I really should do better at this whole empty business. Sigh.

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