I itch. A lot.
Last fall I visited with my dermatologist when over-the-counter skin creams failed to heal a lingering rash on my legs.
After an exam and a few skin biopsies, I found out I have more than one form of eczema. In short, my skin gets itchy and breaks out in rashes when I eat certain foods, am feeling overly stressed or when I come into contact with specific things in my environment.
I’m following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) to learn more about my food-related eczema triggers. The environmentals are coming to light thanks to some diligence around the house and trying new things. For example, after staying away from the chlorinated swimming pool for two months and then going for a dip, I can safely say chlorine or bacteria in the pool lead to a miserable eczema flare up.
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Figuring out how to care for my skin is an ongoing learning process, but thankfully my dermatologist has introduced me to an effective line of skin care products and shared some tips that make my days much more bearable. Here’s a peek at my skin care routine that takes a little over an hour each day. Sometimes I do it twice.
Healing Eczema Bath Routine
To soothe the itching, I like to soak in a hot bath. I start by dissolving approximately 1 cup of Westlab Pure Mineral Epsom Salt and a few tablespoons of baking soda in the water as the tub fills. I avoid the fancy salts that are infused with fragrances because they may irritate my sensitive skin.
I like to soak at least 20 minutes in the salts. Then, I wash with CeraVe Eczema Soothing Body Wash. It’s oil based, so it’s super moisturizing and helps calm the itchiness. For my face, I lather up with the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.
Since my legs are my most affected area, I also shave daily to avoid irritating the broken skin with emerging stubble. And no, it doesn’t hurt when I shave. It actually feels good, like scratching a nagging itch. I like to use Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel. After trying several products, it’s the only one that doesn’t react with my skin.
Finally, I wash my hair with Desert Essence Tea Tree Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner. The tea tree oil formula helps soothe itchiness on my scalp, neck and ears. I’ve used these products for years, before my eczema, because they are made with natural ingredients and keep my hair soft and manageable.
Skin Treatment and Moisturizing
My dermatologist advised that when I’m done bathing I should lightly dry off. It’s best to leave a little moisture behind because it makes skin creams absorb more fully.
First I apply a prescription steroid cream to any affected, rashy areas. I have one cream specific for my body, and another for my face. I don’t like using these medicated creams because when applied long-term, they can cause the skin to thin and bruise easily.
After the steroid creams dry for about 5 to 10 minutes, I apply two moisturizers. The first is CeraVe Moisturizing Cream with the blue label. I apply this to my legs, torso, arms and back. Then I use the company’s Facial Moisturizing Lotion on my ears, neck and face.
Since it can be difficult to apply creams without a helper, I’ve also invested in a wand to help me reach my back. I grabbed the Aquasentials Easy Lotion Applicator from Amazon. This has been the best investment ever for when the hubby isn’t home to help.
Paying Attention to Nutrition
Finally, I am very careful when it comes to diet. As I mentioned earlier, I follow the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and it’s been a great help in managing my AI issues.
If eczema is your only autoimmune issue, I suggest reading The Eczema Diet: Discover How to Stop and Prevent The Itch of Eczema Through Diet and Nutrition from Karen Fischer. I read it awhile back for a book review post, and think it’s time to dig it out again to see if I can learn a bit more now that I have eczema.
In a nutshell, I’ve learned to avoid processed foods and cook from scratch! Check out my homemade lentil mushroom patties below!
By following the elimination diet portion of the AIP, I’ve discovered that refined sugar, salted/oiled pistachios, peanuts and fresh pineapple make my skin break out in an itchy rash. Ditto for chlorinated pool water and prolonged stressful situations.
I post daily updates on the Cupcakes and Yoga Pants Facebook page about my progress with the AIP and my health conditions, including eczema. It’s an interesting journey!
What are you doing to manage your health conditions? Comment below using Facebook or the comment form.
Until next time,