A Skincare Guide For Eczema Sufferers
Eczema affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the UK according to Allergy UK, a common skin condition that can affect sufferers physically and emotionally. Symptoms can affect any area of the body and can range from mild itchy skin to painful, weeping sores. Causes of flare ups can vary from patient to patient and can be triggered by an overwhelming number of factors; genetics, contact with allergens, changes in the weather, pollution, fragrances, jewellery, clothing, diet, the list is endless and the triggers can change from day to day, making treatment for those living with the condition frustrating and medicating it difficult for professionals.
With so many possible irritants, some unavoidable, how does an eczema sufferer approach skincare? We spoke to Marie Reynolds a well-respected skin health and wellness practitioner who takes a more holistic approach when dealing with topical and physical causes of skin imbalances to guide us through the best skincare routine for eczema prone skin.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition that can be categorised in various forms including – Atopic, Sebhorrheic, dermatitis. The symptoms can include itching, flaking, crusting and oozing.
What causes eczema?
This can be inherited, especially if there are lung issues or smokers (mothers smoking while carrying may also be a contributing factor) – the lungs and skin are brother and sister organs, allergens from topical products or foods, pathogens like fungal or mite influences and emotional stress.
What ingredients should you avoid if you suffer from eczema?
Avoid foods that create excessive mucus, dairy products in particular can increase mucus in the system, which is a wonderful breeding ground for fungi! Avoid products that contain fragrances and harsh chemicals that can sometimes be found in body washes and skincare. Water based products need preservatives, so I personally recommend avoiding products containing parabens and SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulphates, many disagree with this, but this is my opinion.
Avoid the temptation to use exfoliants with glycolic acids and retinols if the skin is scaly. Instead work with the microbiome of your skin and search for ingredients that support the skins lipid barrier. Our lipid barrier consists of oil and moisture, this keeps bacteria out and moisture in – products that we use on a daily basis or other internal factors can distort our microbiome and impair its ability to do its job. Ingredients like Aloe, coconut oil, Hyaluronic Acid, amino acids like L-Gluatim, Essential Fatty Acids are a few examples of ingredients that may support the Lipid Barrier.
Consider getting more Vitamin C into your diet and implementing a good prebiotic to the gut, always remember that the skin is a reflection of what is going on internally. Salt inhalers are a great way to cleanse the respiratory tract as the lungs and skin are closely linked when it comes to dry, itchy conditions. Kali Sulph is a tissue salt that is another great addition to your routine.
Are there any other methods for treating eczema either through diet or natural remedies?
In addition to the above, include omegas into your diet like oily fish. Look for products that include probiotics and omegas on their ingredients list (my Restore and Anoint has had great success with eczema). Monitor which foods might be causing you to have inflammatory responses and try to avoid them. Manage your stress levels – lemon balm is very calming and is another great inclusion.
Hoover the mattress regularly! It is not enough to change the sheets, make sure you hoover the mattress – bed bugs and mites love dead skin! Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and then hoover. Clean make-up brushes regularly, you don’t even want to know the amount of mites that can be left on dirty brushes!
What skincare routine would you recommend for someone who suffers with eczema on their face?
Use cleansers that are non-foaming, ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid will hydrate but also calm and soothe, try to keep your products as simple as possible. Hydrate with face mists and look for products that work with the lipid barrier.
What are the best products to use?
My skin care range is developed for particular skin types and conditions. My products focus on the lipid barrier and the microbiome – as mentioned the skin is a reflection of what is going on internally which is why my supplements are the key to great skin health.
MRL Goji Mallow Cleanse is a gentle cleanser with coconut oil, Oat Silk, Hyaluronic acid, Goji and Acai berries. This Cleanser locks in moisture and helps to reduce inflammation.
MRL Elixir contains Marula oil which is rich in Vitamin C, extremely high in antioxidants, it helps to protect against environmental damage.
MRL Hydr8 Misting Veil is a beautiful hyaluronic acid and Oat silk mist that is great to use throughout the day and provides a protective layer, calms and soothes the skin.
MLR Reson8 mixed with Anoint – Reson8 is an Arnica hydrogel mixed with a few drops of Anoint it gives a great boost of Omegas.
Restore is a beautiful 8 strain probiotic mask with a Hemp base – mix with Anoint for the face and whole body or add the powder to a bath for a probiotic bath.
FACE – pro vitamin night oil is an incredibly healing and anti-inflammatory and a non-aggressive pro vitamin A internal support.
Eradic8 aids gut health but also helps with fungal spores Coll force which contains silica and collagen that helps with the skins integrity Repair + n- L-Glutamine – key amino acid for skin and fascism health
What products / ingredients should you avoid?
Chemicals, acids, heavily fragranced body washes. Women should also be conscious of the sanitary care that they use, many do not make the links between using heavily bleached tampons or pads to eczema type conditions. Making small changes does make a difference so change to organic feminine care.
How do you treat other skin issues i.e. hyperpigmentation, dark circles, fine lines, etc if you suffer from eczema?
If you treat the microbiome and lipid barrier, support the internal health and hydrate then the rest will follow. You can use nonaggressive ingredients and still get results.
Words: Abisoye Odugbesan