I’ve got an issue, guys. I really feel like doing a review/showing swatches of a product, but I don’t want to actually have to do the work. That’s kind of a problem, right? And it’s not entirely true…I want to write about the product, but I don’t want to have to take any photos. If I do a skincare product, I have to take boring shots of the bottle (you bloggers know what I’m taking about – product photos in containers are SO dull to snap :S). If I feature a makeup product, I like to show face swatches too. I’m not avoiding showing my face, because my face is looking pretty darn good these days. Seems I’ve found ‘THE‘ regimen for my skin, at long last – even for my body! …Oh, ok, you want to hear about it? Hmm… maybe if I do a few collective shots of what I’m using, it won’t be such a snore for me… …OK! Right-o! We’re on ‘er now
Let’s work from the bottom up (not literally!). Every year, I get a mysterious rash-type thing, that is NOT eczema but some sort of dermatitis that no one can explain. I went for a biopsy last year to get it checked and it came back negative for all of the possible things it could be. My derm is an idiot who can barely open his eyes (for some reason, he squints constantly – so annoying!), and didn’t offer any other solutions to figuring out the problem, so I have been essentially left to deal with it on my own. This summer, I got another mystery rash on my arms, big-time (which made swatching impossible), and it was unlike anything I’ve had before. Of course. Anyway, when I went to NZ I hoped the fresh, clean air would heal me up, but this was not the case. However, while there I bought this crazy Eumovate cream and it cleared it up in about two days. To perfect smoothness. Heck YES I was excited! But then I read the fine print that said ‘Do not use for more than 7 consecutive days’ and I knew it was some heavy shit, so I stopped and of course the rash came back – not to the full strength, but nonetheless it still plagued me.
Speaking of plagued. I wrote a poem once about my skin issues (seriously guys…it freakin’ drives me NUTS), and titled it ‘Plague’. Check out
the height of my lameness my mad skillz:
What lasting plague upon my house,
My body, mind & soul;
What constancy lives in my heart
That soon shall take it’s toll.
What ravages this skin, yet leaves
No evidence, no trace,
Of how to rid oneself of it,
Will it never erase?
A mystery, the cause of such
Destruction, that has made
A mockery of such a thing
That God so proudly laid.
Too long this body’s suffered so,
Too long without a cure;
Too soon it’s life comes to an end
Of this we can be sure.
Dudes. I was way serious back in the day. I wrote poetry all the time, because obviously sad poetry is WAY easier to write than happy stuff. I did write a few cheerily optimistic poems the last time I was in the groove (about 4 years ago)…maybe sometime I’ll share (or not…this is a beauty blog, after all! :P).
Anyway, when I got home my GP told me that it was good to stop using the hardcore stuff I got in NZ, as it was pretty intense. He hooked me up with a regular corticosteroid, which I do generally try to avoid but figured I had to do something, and BAM! Problem fixed. See, with eczema you have to treat that shit first…I kept trying all these plain creams to make it heal on it’s own, but that’s just silly. I used the prescription for about five days and haven’t had to use it since. Once I got my skin back to normal, THEN I could manage it with preventative measures. Which are:
- Shower at night: This way you rinse away all the bad crap that comes in contact with your skin throughout the day, and your moisturizer has a better chance of absorbing and keeping your skin hydrated.
- Wash with a soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser: Anything that lathers is generally NOT a friend of those with eczema. I’ve been using a body wash by Hugo Naturals that has vegetable glycerin and a natural surfactant derived from coconut and it’s been lovely and gentle on my skin. You do NOT want to strip any of your precious natural oils! You need those!
- Go for the heaviest creams you can tolerate: Right now I’m using Haus of Gloi’s Pumpkin Butter ($9US for 6oz) in Aether (non-scent), and I am in fucking love. Sorry for the potty mouth but seriously that is how good this stuff is! It has a natural odor that I’m not quite sure I would call ‘pumpkin’y', but its nice and for someone who has renounced almost all use of anything fragranced*, this is very exciting. It also contains shea butter as the second ingredient, which is pretty much the holy grail of hydrators for dry skin. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Another good option (though pricey) is Kiehl’s Creme de Corps ($37.50CAD for 250mL).
*Steering clear of fragrance is also very important. Even take note of your shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products. I’m using a fragrance-free shampoo and low-fragrance conditioner (it’s the last ingredient on the list), and a non-fragranced hair oil – the end. I swear it helps!
- Reapply often: This is why I go through SO many creams and lotions, but it’s worth it if my skin stays hydrated – it keeps your moisture barrier intact and therefore less irritating things from the outside world can penetrate the skin and cause flare-ups and problems. I keep a moisturizer by the bed, at work, in my purses…its a constant job. But totally worth it!
And that’s essentially it, for body! I do nothing else and I don’t need to. Scrubs are abrasive and therefore can exacerbate the problem (though I did just order a Bubbling Scrub sample size from Haus of Gloi…because I just can’t help myself), so I wash, pat dry, hydrate, the end. And my body is loving me right now :) PRAISE THE SKIN GODS!!
As for the face – which has also been darn near glorious over the past month – here’s what I’ve been using/the routine I’ve been following:
1. Splash face with water, pat dry then swipe Shiseido’s Pureness Balancing Softener all over skin
2. Apply Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer to dry areas of face (for me, its around the mouth)
3. Apply Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment around orbital area
4. Apply Clinique Even Better Lotion SPF20 all over face & neck
When I wear foundation, which I almost don’t have to right now, I wear the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder, which actually doesn’t dry my skin out, even in this cold weather, and almost allows me to skip powder altogether on my slightly oily skin (as it’s mattifying and oil-free). It doesn’t contain fragrance or any other funny business I usual avoid.
I will note that I’m careful with any blushes/bronzers I use – the Chanel, Benefit, and Burberry blush I have all have fragrance, so I try to use them sparingly. NARS powder blush contain lanolin, which I’m allergic to and which is very unfortunate as I have 5 shades. So, they get used semi-infrequently as well. But, I find as long as I’m not wearing them every day, things are alright.
In the evening, here’s how I roll:
1. Remove makeup with Boscia’s Make Up Break Up Cleansing Oil (which I *just* finished tonight and will be replacing with Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm)
2. Wash face with Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash
3. Apply Derma-E’s Vitamin A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizing Gel all over face & neck
4. Apply 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream around orbital area
5. Wait 5 minutes, then pat Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil into face and neck (review forthcoming, because this stuff is GOLD!)
The end. That’s it! It’s not a long process, and the results have been really good. I think the biggest thing is keeping my skin MORE hydrated as opposed to trying to always control the oiliness. Not washing my face in the morning, combined with using two hydrators (spot treating in the AM and all over at night), has actually not made me more oily but has lessened how shiny I get throughout the day, and my eczema is nearly non-existent – all that’s left is slight pigmentation scarring from when it wasn’t under control. I also think that for once, following a regimen and using the same products every day has had a huge hand in keeping my skin happy. Changing it up all the time leaves it in a constant upheaval; I was doing it for the ‘right reasons’ – trying to use up products – but it was causing me grief overall. So YAY to getting my shit together!
There are still a few tweaks I want to make here and there, especially with respect to anti-aging – I still want to try a retinol product (I want to use up the Derma-E Vitamin A gel first before I purchase one), and I plan on replacing the almost-finished Shiseido Softener with one of Bioderma’s miscellar waters – but otherwise I think I’m good! When the time comes to buy replacement products, I’ll be sure to do my homework.
I know that this process will not be helpful for some of you – not everyone has my tempermental skin – but I find that when I’m looking online for solutions to my eczema problems, there’s not much around except the usual treatments. And since it’s wintertime for many of us, some of the same logic applies in terms of keeping the skin hydrated, so hopefully not all is lost! Stay tuned for my post on the Tarte oil though, truly – it’s absolutely wonderful and I think everyone can use it!
How involved in your skincare routine? Do you have finnicky skin? What is the difference maker for you?