Growing up in California, my eczema was a source of occasional discomfort. But it was nothing — nothing — compared to how bad it got when I moved to the East Coast for college. My first major seasonal shift was excruciating: My eczema was so scratchy and miserable that even putting on clothes was painful. The products I’d depended on growing up were rendered useless, fueling a frantic search for relief. When I say I tried everything, I mean I tried everything — from bathing in literal oatmeal from my kitchen cabinet, to getting acrylic nails so that I couldn’t properly scratch myself, to buying dozens of creams and body washes and soaks recommended by fellow sufferers. And after months of trial and error, I finally discovered a few products that made a difference. So, below: my five eczema Holy Grails.
It took me far too long to realize that sulfates in my body wash were triggering my eczema flareups. This particular body wash from Skinfix, an Allure Best of Beauty award winner, was recommended by a beauty editor pal of mine, who claimed that it was the only body wash that was able to effectively cleanse her skin without irritating her eczema or psoriasis. The formula uses coconut cleansers instead of sulfates, which replenish and hydrate the skin, and help wash away dirt and sweat from the day.
Constant itchiness is probably one of the most infuriating symptoms of eczema. The urge to scratch can sometimes be so overwhelming that I find myself seeing red and going to town on my skin until I bleed. One of the things that’s helped me most with tempering itchiness is this cream from eczema-focused line Bodewell. Whenever I feel that tingling sensation and the urge to scratch creeps in, I immediately apply this. The formula, which is a blend of Centella asiatica, oat extract, ceramides, and plant extracts, works to soothe, calm, nourish, and relieve hot, itchy, and dry skin almost instantly. This product is also free of fragrance, sulfates, steroids, and dyes, meaning there is nothing in it that will further irritate your skin. I apply this liberally whenever I’m feeling itchy or after I’ve done something that I know might trigger a flareup (like shaving).
Shea butter is one of my all time favorite ingredients for hydrating scaly, dry, and irritated skin. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A, B, and E (which can repair and soothe inflammation) while it’s emollient properties help lock in moisture, to ensure the skin stays hydrated. This particular shea butter body cream from Buttah is easily my favorite I’ve ever used. It’s more nourishing than any other body cream I’ve tried, and never leaves my skin feeling sticky or tacky.
I get the particularly bad eczema on my hands and feet (from, respectively, constant hand washing and my shoes). This hand and foot soak from Eczema Honey is something I use about once a week on both. I mix one scoop of the crystals (a mixture of dead sea salt, epsom salt, oatmeal, vitamin E oil, honey powder, and tea-tree oil, all of which calm inflammation and redness) into a bowl of warm water until it dissolves, and then let my hands or feet soak for about ten to 15 minutes while I’m watching TV. It instantly takes the edge off of any redness or itchiness I already have, and consistent use has helped keep future flareups at bay.
I always follow up the soak with my beloved Gold Bond Hand Cream, which I have on me (one in my purse, one near my bed, and one in my bathroom cabinet) pretty much at all times. This cream is deeply hydrating and replenishing — it uses oatmeal (which calms the skin and prevents itchiness), aloe vera (for soothing and hydrating), and vitamin E (which helps build the skin’s protective barrier). Whether you’re just a little bit dry or suffering from severe eczema or psoriasis flareups, this cream is major.
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