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.
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.
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.
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