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Coping With Eczema & Reactive Skin On W-day.

Or any day for that matter.

Now before I begin I want to make it clear that I am not a doctor, or a dermatologist, or that I in any way regard myself as a skincare specialist. If you do suffer from a skin complaint that is affecting your confidence and/or well-being then you should at first consult your GP and if from the relevant recommendations and/or prescriptions you are still not happy with the results then request a referral to a dermatologist. It could be that you are suffering from an allergic reaction and patch tests might be an option.

What I am is a sufferer (some 30-odd years as it happens) so what I can share is what I use to manage the condition effectively and what I avoid to prevent future flare ups. This is obviously personal to my experience and my rather diva-ish epidermis, I invite anyone else who has any advice, queries or recommendations to drop a note in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

You may also have noticed that we are testing out a little bit of new functionality with this particular feature, the top image is in fact A SLIDER GALLERY, you can peruse (and pin) all of the beauty stuffs mentioned below, do let us know what you think!

Who Cares If It Rains?!

Nope. I didn’t give two hoots about the weather on the day I was going to say I do. I was just concerned I would end up with sore flaky red patches, puffy swollen eyelids and lips so dry they split at the sides and I resemble the joker from batman. Vain? probably. I know the only thing I should have really been bothered about was seeing my future husband at the end of the ailse. And I was. I just didn’t want to be seeing him through bullbous peepers that were the same shade as my bridesmaids hot pink hydrangea bouquet. I don’t really do matchy-matchy.

My eczema and sensitive skin have been the bain of my life. I don’t often like taking about it to be honest. One I don’t like drawing attention to the fact, secondly I know there are thousands of folks out there who have (and do) deal with far more life-threatening afflictions and lastly, when my skin is clear it’s really quite…clear. Folks actually comment on it. In a positive way. So when I mention what it’s like for at least (on average) six months of the year I appear to be a bit of a hypercondriac whinge-bag.

I am also (after decades of practice) a bit of a whizz at concealing my condition with make-up. I won’t go into that today – frankly we would be here forever. But if you do think this post is useful then I can of course do this in the future – just let me know.

The Windows To The Soul

I have quite big eyes with quite prominent hooded lids. And when I have eczema which I put down to being stress related (the itchy weird raw kind fondly referred to as “dinosaur eye” by my friend Maria who is also a victim of the same condition…) the aforementioned lids swell up and I look rather strange. Throughout the day if I’m particularly lucky, the dry dead skin will often fall off my lids onto my cheeks giving a kind of “dandruff blush” look. Or sometimes it will fall right into my eye balls where the flakes will lodge themselves behind my contact lenses.

As a result I don’t mess around with my mascara or eyeshadow very often. I know what my skin will tolerate so I keep to these products as best I can (except at Christmas when the glitter liner comes out, yes it makes me resemble kermit the frog by the end of the evening but I.CAN’T.RESIST.)

The removal process I find is very important in keeping redness to a minimum, GENTLY GENTLY is the key. I use the Avene unscented clear gel – it’s the only thing I can use. And believe me, I’ve tried almost everything. I first dampen a cotton wool pad (makes the product go further I find and there is significantly less “drag”) and add a generous blob. About the size of a 50p piece I guess. I then hold this over my closed eye for a good 5 seconds and wipe/sweep until the make-up is removed. I repeat this process for each eye. If like me, sometimes you wear 6 coats of mascara you may need to do this process twice.

To keep the very fine area around my eyes soft and well moisturised I use Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Eye Cream. It is quite expensive but a little goes a long way (a pot last me about 4 months using it morning and evening) and I pat it on rather than rub. I do wear it under concealer and admittedly it can crease a little if you don’t give it time to sink in, I’ve had hardly any dryness issues since using it though so it’s a small price to pay. I don’t put it on my lids as it’s so rich – I use the tiniest amount of the Aveeno cream instead.

Cheap and Cheerful

I’ve tried my fair share of beautifully packaged and luxe skincare regimes, and I won’t sit here and tell giant fibs. i.e That I won’t ever indulge in something that promises to give me that kind of poreless, flawless luminosity usually reserved for Victoria Secrets models and Nicole Scherzinger.

My cleanser is £1.69 from Boots. Sometimes they do 3 for 2, which makes it oh….about £1.12 per bottle. It’s un-scented and doesn’t do anything negative to my face. I apply it with a cotton wool pad and remove as much base as possible (I don’t wear foundation – only powder so you may need something more heavy duty if you love a good primer and the like.) I then repeat this process and daub another amount on which I remove using a warm damp flannel and soft circular movements.

Yes I know, this might sound like a right old faff. But it doesn’t actually take very long. Also just to point out – I don’t do this in the morning, I just spray my mug with the Avene mineral water spray and apply my Aveeno cream directly on top.

I love Aveeno. A dermatologist recommended it to me about 6 years ago. It would be melodramatic to say it changed my life but it kind of did. It’s also matt, which means it creates a good canvas for your cosmetics of choice.

I find tap water in general to be quite drying, so even though I dampen my flannel with it I always wipe over my entire face afterwards with the Avene mineral water spray on a cotton pad as mentioned above to remove residue.

Luscious Lips

Or not. As usually is the case with me. I’m allergic to a chemical known as Dodecyl Gallate which is commonly found in lipsticks and is an emulsifier in some foods. This is an arse. I LOVE lipstick. Unfortunately for me it is more often than not unrequited and I end up with bee stung (mis-shaped, not in a sexy Angelina Jolie fashion) peeling and split lips.

Even if I avoid allergens my lips are still parched and generally have a tendency to appear sore and not all that attractive. I’ve tried a million lip balms, from super high end to chapstick and the one I come back to time and time again is Chanel Baume

I have no idea why it works. It just does. I apply it in the morning, at night and during the day on top of whatever it is I already have on. A couple of times a week I also use E.L.F lip exfoliator (not shown.) this is dirt cheap, is pleasantly scented with mint and manages to remove stubborn flakes without severe scrubbing or making the situation worse.

Extra Care

I recently discovered a serum/gel/cream (can’t think of the exact vocabulary to describe the rather unique consistency) called Ictyane by the French Brand Ducray. If my skin is behaving like a complete d*ck I will apply this underneath my Aveeno. It is recommended for severe dry skin conditions and does the job very well indeed.

The French it seems know what they are doing when it comes to producing no-nonsense skincare that works and doesn’t cost the price of a second mortgage. I buy the Ictyane and a few other bits and pieces from on-line store Le Guide Sante, the delivery charges are reasonable and everything arrives within a few days.

Don’t blame me if you now spend the next hour on their website looking at lotions and potions, it’s ridiculously addictive.

Body Issues

The worst eczema I suffer is on my lower legs and hands. I combat this with Eucerin lotion – it’s a bit like rubbing chip fat into your limbs (sorry – but it is.) and not entirely pleasant in the summer months/if you have to put skinny jeans on afterwards.

I tend to use it before I go to bed, or if I know I have time to spare for it to absorb. After every shower I use Vaseline un-fragranced moisture locking body lotion, not quite as effective as the Eucerin but more practical and easier to apply.

On my hands I use either of the above, and various steroid creams prescribed by my Doctor – should the condition be particularly crap or infected.

What To Avoid

The first thing to remember is everyone’s skin is different so again, I can only advise from experience.

As best I can I try to avoid anything fragranced, and interestingly anything with potent essential oils. They are often labelled as “organic” or “natural” or “soothing” and are often included in products especially marketed for sensitive types. The worst reaction I ever had was to an expensive and specifically designed-for-eczema-sufferers range that was allegedly “natural” and “organic”. Go figure.

There is great love around the globe for cleansers such as Eve Lom and Liz Earle but neither work for me, they just made me red and itchy and increased the levels of dryness.

Just because a product is raved about seemingly the world over, doesn’t necessarily mean your skin will worship at its pump bottle.

As much as you can ask for samples of items you are potentially interested in purchasing, and only try out new products when you have no where important to go the following day!

I never would have tried let alone bought the Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Eye Cream had a very knowledgeable and polite lady on the counter not put a generous helping in a container for me to take home and try.

As for your wedding, there is absolutely nothing wrong with investing in lovely new things that will make your face gleam. Just make sure you try them out months in advance, not weeks. That way you will have time to heal should there be any kind of adverse reaction.

Also (and perhaps this is obvious to some) check your nail polish, I had weird reactions on and off for a few years in my late teens and it turns out I was allergic to the preservative Formaldehyde which is commonly found in all sorts of sexy fingertip adornment. I was touching my face and eyes all the time and reacting every single time I did.

Butter London varnishes are formaldehyde free and wear well I find.

I was lucky in that come the big day I was relatively ok…. Yay.

Three months later however I ended up in A&E and on a drip due to turning into the Bride of Frankenstein overnight. My entire face and body swelled up and was covered in huge red welts. I count my lucky stars this happened when it did and not on my actual wedding day, obviously.

I was tempted to put pictures of me that were taken in the hospital on this post but was concerned it may actually frighten people. Adam has seen them. He couldn’t believe it was actually me.

Turns out I am allergic to blue.

Yes.I am allergic to my favourite colour. I would go into the details but it’s all kinds of dull. And finding out all about you gorgeous lot and your epidermal woes will be far more interesting.

Big Flake-Free (At least for now) Love

Charlotte xxx


58 thoughts on “Coping With Eczema & Reactive Skin On W-day.

  1. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have always suffered with eczema but unfortunately it is linked to stress and being run down – something that I am sure I will be in the run up to my wedding. I get it worse in the crooks of my arms leading up to my armpits (not cute) and have been worrying about preventing a break out pre wedding. I have never tried Eucerin and think that could be something worth trying (I used to use E45 but find it doesn’t quite do the trick anymore). Oh and for a dry face I swear by Dior Beauty Baume mask. Spenny but totally 100% worth it, and I little goes a long way.

    1. Hi Jo! Thanks for your comment, E45 doesn’t work for me either – the Eucerin is great though. I also get patches underneath my bra strap and layer the Eucerin on here too, it works well.

      Interestingly Dior is quite a scented range but I don’t react adversely to it, I might give that mask a whirl.

      Charlotte xxx

  2. Genuinely just ‘ooooooh’d out loud at my desk when I noticed the new slider gallery!

    Love a good post on eczema, such a common condition but such little debate on what could work for all us sufferers. I’m a firm believer in Vaseline’s Moisture Locking Body lotion, pray it’s never discontinued!

  3. Fellow sufferer (waves)

    Its the stress that does it for me, in fact, that and the fact that my shoulders have seized up are usually how I know I’m actually stressed!

    I love the Vaseline stuff for my body and have recently started using the Dermalogica Ultra Calming range on my face, its pricey but my skin is better than its ever been (less eczema/dryness, less redness, less oily, fewer breakouts) (yes, my skins is simultaneously dry and oily – which is awesome obviously).

    I also like the body shop body butters

    Claire x

    1. I love the coconut body butter in the summer – it’s not too heavy and smells lush.

      My friend Kelly swears by Dermalogica – she has an oilier skin.

      Charlotte xxx

      1. LOVE the Body Shop coconut body butter! It’s perfect for making my elbows nice & soft. Usually they are a dry, flaky, red, horrible mess. But this stuff does wonders to make them look a little less reptile-like! 😉 xx

  4. I swear by Aveeno! Honestly, like you it changed my life. Every eczema sufferer knows its all about managing your skin and getting it under control with what works best for you. I opted for a dress which had straps and a lace front and back because I was so paranoid I would have a flare up on the day and everyone would see my sore skin. Fortunately my skin behaved itself wonderfully. Good to note the other suggestions especially the eye cream. I will always recommend Aveeno, I have tried every lotion and potion and found this to be the only one I didn’t react to and to actually leave me with soft skin! What a fantastic post to read 🙂

    1. Thanks Helen, we do try and cover as many things as we can with regards what Brides may have to deal with on the big day.

      I also get eczema on my chest – and had straps too! The eye cream is definitely worth a try – ask for a sample 🙂

      Charlotte xxx

  5. I get the red, flaky, swollen, sore eye thing too!! You know what has worked for me really well is the Verite Estee lauder cleanser- it is AMAZING and since using it I haven’t had the red eye issue at all!! Touch wood! Give it a go, it is amazing and smells nice too. Apparently it desensitises sensitive skin so may be worth a try if you have a day to get over a reaction if one happens!?

      1. I use it all over my face and it takes my eye make up off too! You dont need water to remove it according to the girl behind the counter if you get allergic to water. I have just had a flair up on my hand and thinking I might smother myself in it when I get home!! xx

    1. Hey Laura, I get total swell head haha! Especially bad on my eyes, i used to work for Lauder and tried the Verite cream, glad it works for you but for me it was a terrible burning, absolutely horrific! I love the Aveeno cream, think i might try the others when swell head returns!
      Charlotte i would love you to do a makeup piece on this as i’m sure others too would find it helpful!
      Thanks Carys

      1. Thanks for the feedback Carys, it’s amazing how everyone is so different isn’t it?

        I think I should start an Aveeno fanclub 🙂

        I’ll be sure to put some time aside for a make-up special x

        1. Yes it’s strange as lots of people swear by it, a lady used to come buy 5 at a time, but for me it didn’t work! I’ll be in the fan club definitely!
          I’ll keep my eye out for the makeup! 🙂

  6. I’m not an exzema sufferer but have been plagued by acne since my teens. I have tried everything! Recently thanks to Millie Macintosh I tried Mauka Docator Apiclear foaming cleanser and it has done wonders, I managed to get through my wedding day spot free.

  7. Hey lovely!
    You know I love this post!!
    I still find it hard to believe you have eczema as I am so in awe of your gorgeous flawless looking skin.

    Being a fellow eczema sufferer who was petrified at looking like a flaky mess on her wedding day – the lovely Charlotte was ever so kind & shared her tips with me before the big day. And I need to say her tip on the Boots Simply Sensitive stuff was a godsend. I already used their eye make-up remover but have since added their cleansing gel to my routine it works wonders for my skin.

    As for lips, I think I’m definitely going to have to try the Chanel balm. I use Vaseline daily but I do have such dry lips – apparently the driest lips my MUA had seen! Which is not helpful who has recently developed a penchant for pretty/colourful lipsticks!

    Sadly with skincare, my issue has always been my allergy to Lanolin! If you have not checked this with your doctor/dermatologist then I definitely recommend you do, as Lanolin is in soooooooo many skincare products ESPECIALLY many skincare products claiming to be perfect for eczema prone skin (E45 being a perfect example). Not everyone is allergic to it, but definitely worth finding out 🙂

    Thanks to the lovely Mrs O’Shea for sharing her tips with us all, and making us eczema sufferers feel like we’re not alone 😀
    xxx

    1. HI Rebecca!

      You are very sweet! Lanolin allergies are not un-common. I don’t seem to be affected but many folks are. You must try the Chanel Baume, I would have one in every handbag/on my bedside table/in the car if I could afford to! My Mum first bought it for me about 10 years ago and nothing compares.

      Charlotte x

  8. Fantastic post. 6 months to my big day and I am TERRIFIED I’m going to have a flare up, so this has made my day 🙂
    My favourites include Lush’ Ultrabalm, mainly for my eyes. Then Clinique make up.
    Does anyone know if Bobby Brown make up is a safe zone for eczema/fragrance free skin?
    Thanks xxx

    1. I used Bobby Brown lipstick and my lips are quite the challenge as they are often sore and blistex is always at the ready. But their lipstick was great, I didn’t react and it lasted for ages!

  9. This is such a timely post! It may sound shallow, but one of my biggest worries about my wedding day is my skin. I don’t suffer from acne, but over the past couple of years I have developed adult acne (which is such a cruel trick of nature, just when you think your adolescent awkwardness is well behind you, you start getting spots again in your late twenties!). I have been to the GP and am continually on the hunt for the best anti-spot products which don’t also completely dry out your skin at the same time – I don’t think beauty manufacturers realise that people over the age of 17 can also get spots!

    I am so worried about waking up on the morning of my wedding to find a new giant spot on my face – or worse still, a cluster of them. I have already decided that I am definitely not wearing my hair up on my wedding day as I don’t want to expose my jawline/neck (where most of my spots appear). Even if I don’t have a fresh break out, these new spots take a really long time to clear and I have scarring for quite a long time afterwards. Not attractive. Going almost make up-free on my W-day is definitely not an option! I am therefore on a mission to find the best cover-up make up which doesn’t make me look completely caked in it, or slide off after a couple of hours…

    Charlotte, it seems that both ends of spectrum are equally bad, whether it’s really dry or really oily skin – why can’t it just behave itself?!

    x x

    1. Hi Jessica

      I just tried the Estee Lauder Double Wear light and I tell you, that stuff DOES NOT budge. I would say the coverage is light to medium, I think the regular double wear has more coverage but comes in fewer shades. The light is build-able though so I’m sticking with that (and I like good coverage!).

      I’m not massively spot prone but it didn’t make be break out at all 🙂

        1. Jessica have you tried Laura Mercier mineral powder? it works as a foundation, you can put extra powder on blemishes (I don’t get these but do have red around my nose)

          My friend kelly (mentioned above!) also swears by Double Wear foundation – she has oily skin and finds it lasts all day and doesn’t go shiny.

          Charlotte x

          1. Only problem with double wear is that is can be known to cause flash back in flash photography, you know the white cast on the face…something similar could be Dior Forever Foundation – just a thought to bear in mind and perhaps test with a good camera if you are thinking of wearing on the big day xx

  10. Oh Charlotte I’m really glad you posted about this! I’m due to marry May 2014 and I am currently panicking and trying to find something to tame my skin. I don’t have problems with ecezma (although I know plenty who do), I have adult acne. I came off the pill in December and since about March my skin has been unhappy. I’m currently trying Bare Minerals and changing my skincare routine because I suspect it could be what I’m putting on my skin that’s the problem (at least that’s what I’m hoping!) I can’t go back on the pill now and have it fix it because it’ll take months and I don’t have time. Stupid move on my part probably :\

    I live in fear of having crappy skin on my wedding day. It’s so hard to cover up, especially when they are big and pussy 🙁

    If you have any other skincare tips or tricks I’d love to hear about them. I have a bit of a funny story related to skin actually that I thought of when I read your post. I went to my GP several months back thinking I had shingles… turns out I was using a moisturiser that was irritating my skin. My GP tutted at me loudly and sent me packing but not before telling me I should use Neutrogena and not the perfumed stuff I usually like. Embarrassing! But she was right. Neutrogena sorted me out.

    1. Hi Janine – I will definitely look into a post that is acne focused, I’ll find a specialist/sufferer and put something together.

      In the meantime – have you considered booking a private appointment with a dermatologist? expensive but it’s the best thing I ever did, and saved me lots in the long term wasting $$$$ on products I couldn’t use.

      There is a cream I was prescribed about a year ago when I came off the pill for a bit and my skin went a bit lumpy and weird – leave it with me and I’ll post the name on here.

      Charlotte xxx

  11. I find natural aloe vera gel from Holland and Barratt is really good if your eczema starts as a hot bubbly rash as it takes the heat out (also good for sunburn :-)). The new nivea shower moisturiser works brilliantly in helping keep my skin moist and not need moisturising within 2 seconds of getting out of the shower 🙂 .

    I can recommend dead sea bath salts for soaking sore scaley skin and sudocrem!!

  12. Ahhhhh Charlotte your skin/beauty posts are always music to my eyes!

    I clearly NEED to try Eucerin for my dry patches on the backs of my arms…yak! I am loving Soap and Glory’s body butter and whipped clean butter shower gels as they have definitely helped soften it up a treat!
    I don’t have any skin conditions as such but my skin does tend to be ever so dry and thus more prone to ageing I have been told! I have been a fan of Liz Earl cleanser for a while now but have recently delved into Biotherm products and am quite impressed so far! They too have a gel eye make up remover which is proving quite nice, I do love AVENE products though and especially the water spray!

    I have been reading about Hydralauron and REN products too (have got some samples to try)but have yet to try them, bit pricier too.
    I have recently bought AVENE’s moisture mask which has really helped soften and smooth my skin when put on at bedtime.

    I definitely will be asking for a sample of the bobbi brown eye cream!

    Having recently delved into the world of botox this has helped my skin be less dry and I don’t know if this is just a happy coincidence or something it will continue to do! The nurse who did the botox also recommended taking Omega 3,6,9 supplements as they are heaven for the skin so obviously being a slave for perfect skin I have been on those for about 20 days and so far not massive differences but my skin is looking no worse for it. She also drilled into me just how dehydrated my skin actually is and that I should be drinking lots more water to improve my skin dryness…being a nurse I struggle to fit in 2 cups a day let alone two litres but it is something I am trying to do!

    Defo do a make up post you know I love those!!

    P.S. Which powders do you find ok to use as because of dry patches I worry they will just clog up?
    xxx

    1. I swear by Chanel universalle libre powder (the loose and the pressed versions) as it is so fine and doesn’t settle in fine lines. I use shade 30 and it gives a subtle glow.

      I REALLY need to increase my water intake, I do notice the difference even just after a few days of drinking at least a litre, I’m sure of it!!

      Charlotte xxx

  13. I’m also a life long eczema sufferer and have found the best emollient for me is Doublebase gel which comes in a big pump on prescription. It’s non-greasy and really absorbent. Before I discovered the gel I used Diprobase ointment which I found made me itchy if I used it too much, although I still use it for very dry hands! I tend to find aloe vera lotions good and also love Chanel lip balm, but love the Hydramax+. Hydramax+ face cream is also fabulous!

    1. Ah yes, my sister is a fan of double base, sometimes her skin can be even worse than mine in terms of dryness.

      I also rate Hydramax for the summer months, I have a pot in my bathroom cupboard. It’s fragranced but again, as with Dior Chanel doesn’t seem to effect me negatively.

      Charlotte xxx

  14. I’ve also been a long term exzema sufferer and have tried all sorts, I only suffer on my face and neck, which is good and bad! The thing that has made the biggest difference to me is cutting out any SLS or SLES products, which is a foaming agent found in anything that foams, from shampoo and washing up liquid to itch relief creams. It’s known to damage eczema prone skin, it doesn’t stop me getting a flare up but theys are nothing in comparison to what they were like and I haven’t needed to use any steroid cream since cutting it out, which is the biggest bonus. You can get special SLS and paraben free products from boots and some of the big shampoo people have released SLS free products recently, although my faves are Botanics and Dr Organic. Hope this helps someone!

  15. Damn it, I’m at the bottom which means I’m not gonna get read!

    Dermalex. Dermalex, Dermalex, Dermalex. Available at Boots, not sure if elsewhere yet. About a month ago my hands went cray-zee with what I learnt was contact dermatitis. Steroid cream did very little and it was just dying down and flaring up again. I was loathe to go back to the doctor who was just gonna tell me to wear latex gloves (again) so I showed my hands to a nice lady at the Boots counter who winced and then took me to the Dermalex section. It’s a brand new product so doctors don’t know about it apparently, but 3 days later and my hands have completely cleared up. (And there are no steroids in it so you can apply as often as you need!). I don’t work for them. Promise!

    1. Ah ha! I have seen this advertised in many magazines! sounds ace, especially the lack of steroids. I think I might try if for my legs (as of today – lovely red patches on my shins.)

      Charlotte xxx

  16. This is a wonderful post – I used to suffer from eczema but have luckily grown out of it now it seems! I wish I had had a post like this when my eczema was at its worst! xx

  17. Lisa Eldridge has just done a great blog on her skin saviors in her SOS kit, including some for very irritated skin might be worth a watch for you ladies suffering with this. I swear by my Bobbi Brown hydrating eye cream in my kit and Avene products. Bioderma has just released a new cleanser for irritated skin as well called Hydrabio H20 – Hope this helps xx

  18. Hi! Great post Charlotte, having suffered with dry and sore skin all my life and being in and out of dermatologists as a child, I find the Vaseline intensive rescue moisture locking the absolute best after showering and believe me I’ve tried a few! A little tip, if you do grocery shopping online at tesco, it is usually half price at £2.50 so I often stock up there! Xx

  19. Charlotte, you are an angel sent to me from God! I’ve only just develped eczema in the last 2 years, and it is a real pain! Thank you so much for the tips, I am really greatful for anything that might help. I’ve pretty much stopped wearing make up as it just annoys my skin so much (I get the dinosaur eyes thing, and joker mouth too, but mainly on my legs behind my knees), so make up tips or anything else would be amazing! I found Aveeno cream works well for me and one of the Simple shower gels doesn’t cause a flare up. I found a moisturiser on holiday in Canada called Lubriderm that I use on my body, but am nearly finished it, so might give one of these a go. Any tips on getting rid of the redness left behind on my skin? Your skin looks amazing on here! I’m new to the blog, but I’m loving what I see, and especially that there’s stuff from Northern Ireland too. 🙂 Thanks so much. xo

  20. Who would know that you were a fellow sufferer Charlotte?! I’ve suffered with eczema for years and on various parts of my body. I agree that having it on your face / eyes / neck (I often look like I have love bites) is SO frustrating as it’s difficult to hide.

    I’ve found the whole Avene range absolutely amazing, especially the anti-redness moisturiser. I’ve also found that in Europe, they have a makeup range and their tinted moisturiser is great (as good as a foundation but not irritating), so worth scouring the internet for.

    I’ve learnt that using a non-bio washing powder and no fabric softener reduces the likelihood of flareups on the body as the perfume in some powders can irritate, as can shampoos etc which get washed over the body.

    However, the one thing that really worked for me and took me from all-over-body-wrapped-up-in-bandages-sufferer to just-a-little-bit-here-and-there, was rest and a mini detox. Not anything uber-detoxy, but a week away where I bathed in a prescription bath oil every day, went to bed early, read books, got fresh air, didn’t wear make up and didn’t drink alcohol. It gave my body time to calm down and recharge and I would definitely recommend it.

  21. Although I would never want anyone to suffer with eczema it’s nice to know I’m not the only one concerned about a flare-up for my wedding day!! I started suffering when I was teenager and it flares up every winter when the weather gets cold, and also about three to four days after a bout of anxiety! I ALWAYS thought I would have a summer wedding but we’ve ended up booking for October this year because of the lower costs, and now hope I’ve not committed myself to wanting to actually hide from the photographer!!
    For some reason over the last few months I’ve had TERRIBLE skin on my eyelids and under my eyes which I’ve never had before, as well as my usual patches around my mouth. I went to the doctors and was given three different topical steroids – one for my eyelids, one for around my mouth, and one for the creases in my elbows and my back! But the patches around my mouth only got worse, and I read that using steroids elsewhere on the body, particularly the face can actually cause the patching around the mouth!!

    Anyway, I have been desperate to find some cream I can lather on, both by day and by night and I have discovered these two creams within the last month…
    – Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream… I was a bit worried when I bought this because it smells quite strong, (and didn’t want to waste the £23 it cost me!) but it has been a miracle cream for me. It’s like vaseline, and it just seeps in over night, so I wake up with almost hydrated eyelids rather than the cracked peeling ones I had before!
    – Dry Eye Gel … I read about this on another eczema blog. It’s from the Skin Shop (www.skinshop.co.uk) and is a hydrating gel which is really nice to put on and around my eyes. It feels cooling and hydrating at the same time, and I feel is better to use at work, rather than walking around with a glistening face all day : )

    Between these two gels my eyelids really cleared up! I did seem to undo all the good work by spending the day at a spa on sunday for a friend’s hen do, but then I know that lots of heat to cold is one of the worst things for me. Monday morning my eyes were bright red, running, and itchy (prompting endless comments of “gosh Em you’re eyes look sore”…. Yes I know!! I can feel it!!!), but now (friday) they have settled right down again!
    I am just hoping they continue to help and I can feel okay on the big day!! Good luck ladies … I feel your worries too! xx

  22. Hello,

    My eczema is mainly all over my face and up my forearms. I am getting married in November and I am so scared about waking up with a massive flare up 🙁 currently seeing a dermatologist and I’m on ciclosporin treatment but I still have flare ups quite a lot! I use diprobase and hydromol cream for moisturising. What do people use in the shower?

  23. I have sensitive skin that often flares up from makeup and other moisturizers but my skin has reacted beautifully to the Lady Soma Renewal Serum. I use it under my makeup, to make it set better and NOT irritate my skin.

    I wash my face minimally now only using an apricot scrub and when i apply the Lady Soma serum, it feels even better. I have reduced breakouts and my new smooth skin that has encouraged me to wear makeup regularly again.

    Before this stuff, i didn’t wear more than some loose powder occasionally.

  24. Thank God for people like Charlotte writing about their personal experience of eczema and skin conditions – you and all the people who have posted here have just reassured me that I am not alone!

    I’ve had eczema all my life, but currently I have very dry, flakey skin on my face (your comment about dandruff on your cheeks made me smile – that’s how I feel!) and the skin is red and blotchy. It’s driving me up the wall and making me feel so self-conscious. I think one of the causes may be central heating drying out the air and I was wondering if anyone has ever tried humidifers or facial steamers to good effect?

  25. I cannot thank you enough for writing this article! I’m in the process of booking my wedding, and this article has made my day! I can definitely recommend Aveeno cream, I use the bath oil too, I suffer from atopic eczema and have done since I was a baby, two years ago I got the contraception implant in my arm and such a difference it made, never realised how bad my skin got each month die to hormones, joys of being a woman! Still get flare ups but not as bad, I use Epaderm Emoillent as an exfoilater almost, mix with water and apply to your face for a few minutes and rinse off with warm cloth. Works a treat if your face is red or dry, also I use iitwithout the water if my skin is really dry, almost like putting pure grease on but it works! Thanks again for the tips will definitely be saving this article!

  26. Thank you so much for this post, Charlotte. I was convinced I was the only woman on earth worrying about having puffy, dry, red eyes as I walked down the aisle!
    I get eczema on my hands and wrists, mostly, but have also had real trouble around eyes and mouth. Here’s what I’ve found has helped in the last year:

    1. Taking high doses of Omega 3 fish oils. This has made an untold difference. I still get flare ups but if I’m good about remembering to take these every day, the severity is a lot less extreme. I read research somewhere that eczema sufferers may not be able to absorb the oily goodness from things like flax seeds and sesame seeds, so fish oils are your best option. (Not sure whether latter is true, all I can vouch for are results.)

    2. When flare-ups are bad (and the rest of the time too, if I can remember), using Epionce Medical Barrier Cream. It’s REALLY not cheap, but it’s the only thing I’ve found that works for me. (But if you’ve found something that works for you, stick with it, I say!)

    3. This has been a lifesaver for me – I went to a GP who specialises in skin conditions (not a dermatologist) about my flaky, swell-y eyes, and she diagnosed me with a form of hayfever. I didn’t believe her at first because I don’t get itchy eyeballs or runny nose like other people at work when the pollen count is high, and was congratulating myself on having escaped at least one atopic condition! But apparently there’s a form of hayfever akin to conjuncitvitis that results in your eyes swelling up, itching, etc (well, you know the drill). She said to take a standard over-the-counter antihistamine *every day* throughout the summer (and leading right up to my wedding in October, to be safe), and so far it seems to be working! Have had occasional dry patches around my eyes at certain times of the month (which I think is a separate, hormonal problem) but it is generally far better than before, and I never wake up with swollen-up eyes any more (fingers crossed!). I was a bit nervous about the idea of taking an antihistamine every day, but willing to try it until the wedding at least!

    Hope this helps someone. Skin problem of any kind are the worst (I have pretty much resigned myself to having spots on my chin on my wedding day. But at least they can be covered up, unlike puffy eyes!)

  27. Thank you so much for posting this. Really helped me a lot. I’ve suffered with eczema for quite a few years and my holy grail is also Aveeno cream.
    I just wanted to ask what make up you actually use. What concealer or foundation is best for skin with eczema
    I know some stuff can be very drying to the skin so I just wanted your opinion on the best foundation and concealer out there

    Many thanks

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