11 April 2014

Skin foods and skin care, some winter skin tips for eczema

A bit ago I ordered my first two purchases from SKINFOOD, a South Korean food cosmetic brand specializing in products that, like the name implies, are made to nourish the skin. Gentle and natural ingredients such as honey, avocado, aloe, and rice are among the more well-known lines, but they also have black sugar, tea tree oil, tomato, carrots, egg whites, and much much more. SKINFOOD has been as popular as anything for years online, but in the past 2 years I've been seeing its popularity exploding in the California cosplay community (all 7 of the US SKINFOOD stores are located in California). Because of all the makeup involved in cosplaying, and on an everyday basis, your skincare regimen MUST be a #1 priority, and maintained routinely.

I purchased SKINFOOD's Black Sugar Scrub Foam and their Egg White Pack, a peel-off pore strip pack. I ordered both off Amazon at the same time, but they're sold by two different sellers, so I'm waiting on the Egg White Pack!

I read that the Black Sugar Scrub Foam is super popular, and that it's great for acne-prone sensitive skin. The bottle is thick yet semi-transparent, so you'll be able to see how much is left over time. The beads are smaller than I'm used to, which is great for when I have really painful acne marks. Sometimes when I'm using exfoliater scrubs, it's a huge pain because the beads feel like sandpaper scraping against my skin. Not to mention they make my skin really dry, but this one felt like it helped moisturize a bit after rinsing it off. Another reason I bought the scrub foam is because my pores have been especially huge and clogged lately, and it's driving me crazy! I used to keep up my skincare regimen with the Clinique 3-Step twice a day, but I haven't rebought in almost two years -- naturally my skin's been telling me repeatedly that I'm an idiot and should've gotten new stuff sooner. Stress from my senior year hasn't helped my hormonal acne and oil production either, so hellooo strawberry face :(! I'm hoping that it'll get back to normal soon, the more I use this scrub foam.
The bottle is a twist-off cap, for those curious. I was hoping it'd be a snap cap but it's not that big of an issue.

I've also started doing the every-popular DIY pore strip (1 pt unflavored gelatin and 1 pt milk) recipe. I'm trying to keep up a bi-weekly regimen with this one, and so far I've been seeing some results -- though it will be a while until I can get everything cleared up!

Here's the other products I've been using in the past 2 years (and one longer than that) that I've found really work for me.
Bioderma Makeup Remover
Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
Melaleuca Renew Lotion

I bought the Biodoerma makeup remover after watching Bubzbeauty's How to Remove Makeup video, because my makeup hygiene regimen at the time was awfuuuuuuuul. Since then I've been able to remove my makeup completely at night, and breakouts the next day have decreased significantly. I use the sensitive skin makeup remover, but there is also one for combination/oily skin.
My friend Jeanine recommended this foaming cleanser to me while we were staying over at Julia's for ALA 2013, after I told her about my acne troubles. After I tried some of it, I was hooked. It gives a very gentle, soothing feel over my skin and leaves me feeling clean and soft.
After the makeup remover, scrub, and cleanser, I follow up with super moisturizing lotion/cream. Because of my eczema, I have to use certain lotions & creams to battle flaking, cracking, and scaley skin. My aunt and uncle send me the Melaleuca Renew lotion every so often because my cousin also has pretty bad eczema, so I use this as a body + face lotion. After seeing the dermatologist last year, I found that creams are more recommended for treating dry skin caused by eczema, so I use this HylatopicPlus cream for my hands and face when my skin flares up/during the winter. The Hylatopic cream is non-comedogenic and also helps cool the skin, reducing redness for acne and eczema.

Last but not least, everything I use for my eczema on an (almost) daily basis.
(L to R: Elidel, Hydrocortisone, Fluocinonide, Vaseline, and HylatopicPlus in a small jar)

Last year and the year before I saw some of the worst cases of my eczema since I was little (eyelids swelling, flareups all over my face, super painful hands and fingers that made it hard to bend), so I finally saw a dermatologist and got new creams. I use the elidel for my eyelids, which only pops up once in a blue moon now, hydrocortisone for my face (I have eczema around the edges of my mouth, which sometimes reacts to food allergies or acidic foods and flares up + cracks the corners of my mouth), and fluocinonide for my fingers and hands, which I maintain a 14 days on/off routine. The Vaseline is for my lips and for a quick soothe on my eczema, and the hylatopic if my hands or face is especially dry and needs a touchup throughout the day. I get teased for the vaseline and sometimes the amount of creams I have in my bag, but you do what YOU have to do to be comfortable. Most chapsticks set off the eczema around my mouth (everyone always tells me to use Burt's Bees but that HURTS like no other), and Vaseline keeps me pretty hydrated without any discomfort at all. I would rather feel normal every day using what I've found works for me. If Vaseline could come in chapstick form, that'd be pretty amazing (I'm probably going to look that up right after posting this, haha).

What if you only get eczema during the winter?

Quite a few of my friends get eczema during the winter actually. It's a pretty annoying skin condition, and it gets irritated by literally anything. 

Without going to corticosteroid creams, the best thing to do is:
  • avoid hot water (wear gloves when washing the dishes, take warm showers)
  • moisturize as much as possible with non-scented, hypoallergenic creams that have cooling effects
  • wash your hands with gentle soap substitutes (such as emollient cleansers). 
  • avoid dust + dust mites
  • wash your sheets regularly
  • drink lots of water
Soap bars and regular soaps are harsher on eczema and can irritate it, making the condition worse. Emollient cleansers are great alternatives because it moisturizes your skin as it cleans. Other recommendations I've seen is investing in a humidifier for the wintertime, because the dry and cold air (outdoor AND indoor) sucks out the moistures in our skin. Another thing is that perfumes, makeups, and body lotions can irritate eczema, so check out what you use and see if you can substitute any of those for something much more eczema-friendly. I don't use any perfumes or any lotions beyond what is listed above, but there are many non-prescription alternatives that can be found at grocery stores or drugstores. (I'm telling you, Vaseline is heaven-sent, even if it makes you feel all oily. I even use it as an eyemakeup remover).

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