SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR ECZEMA
What you eat and what you apply on the skin are important tools to achieve beautiful skin. I, of course, talk a lot about nutrition, but let’s not forget about skincare products too.
The right routine can help to maintain your skin at optimal conditions, but that does not mean that you need to own a big collection of expensive products. The basic products that you should use are cleanser, toner, moisturiser and a treatment. Let’s cover each one of them and see exactly what we should look for.
There are 2 types of cleansing products: cleansers and washes. The latter usually contain quite strong soap-like ingredients called surfactants (the most common is Sodium lauryl sulphate, or SLS) that have the ability to dissolve in water and oil.
Washes are usually highly effective at removing all sort of dirt and make up; however, they also strip the skin of its natural oils. The skin necessitates some of the oil in order to create a protective barrier, hence when fully removed, its appearance can be quite dull and dry. By choosing a soap free wash or, even better, a cream cleanser, the barrier is preserved.
There are so many cream cleansers in the market, but I recommend looking for one that is suitable for sensitive skin and fragrance free. Many individuals tend to react to fragrance, particularly the synthetic type, therefore opting for unscented products make it a safer choice.
Alternatively create your own, to ensure all ingredients are safe and of good quality. Let me share one of my easy recipes that is suitable for all skin types. Click here for the recipe.
Too many people skip the toner thinking it dries the skin or simply it is not necessary. If you are one of those people, you might want to read on.
Toners have some surprisingly good benefits: they provide you with extra cleansing, by removing any leftover dirt or make up; they help with absorption of the following skincare products by enhancing penetration; they can add great nutrients too.
We are looking for a toner that is fragrance-free, to avoid irritation, and alcohol free, because it could cause more dryness. The good ingredients that we want to add are humectants like glycerine, honey, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid, that draw moisture from the external environment into the stratum corneum.
Choosing a moisturiser specific for dry and sensitive skins is vital to promote a healthy skin barrier and hydration.
Usually moisturisers that are oil-based work better for this purpose because they tend to have longer lasting effects. A great ingredient to add in your moisturiser is hyaluronic acid, which enables to draw moisture into the skin to maintain plump and supple, as mentioned for the toner. Also, shea butter, coconut oil and borage oil are great additions to any moisturiser aimed to dry skin. As a rule of thumb, keep the ingredient list short and natural, avoiding unnecessary fragrance, alcohol, parabens, mineral oils and propylene glycol.
They can be used during flare ups or on patches of very dry skin. It is important to remember that we all react in different ways to topical products, so sometimes it takes a while to find “the one”. Here I have some options that are backed up by scientific research.
Shea butter is high in triglycerides and unsaponifiable compounds (tocopherol, sterols and triterpenes) that exert an emollient and anti-inflammatory action, along with wound healing properties.
Borage oil contains gamma linoleic acid, which promotes healthy skin barrier and function. In a small trial on babies with seborrheic dermatitis, borage oil cleared the condition in 4 weeks.
Coconut oil contains free fatty acids that help with skin barrier function, skin integrity and has also antimicrobial properties. In a 2014 trial there was an excellent response to coconut oil on 46% of individuals, while a moderate improvement on 47% of individuals.
Witch hazel, due to its astringent properties, can reduce skin permeability and secretions. In a study on children with skin disorders, witch hazel was effective and safe.
Finding the right skincare routine is important to maintain healthy skin but it may take some time to find the most suitable ones, that’s why it is very helpful to try a sample before you buy. Remember also that if you have weeping and broken skin is best to talk to your doctor first, as it could lead to infections. If you have already tried hard and still unsuccessful, it could be a sign of a deeper problem. Talk to a healthcare practitioner for a personalised advice, and to find the root cause of your skin issue.
Evangelista, M.T.P. Abad-Casintahan, F. and Lopez-Villafuerte, L. (2014). The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate paediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial. International Journal of Dermatology, 53: 100-108. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.12339.
Kircik LH, Del Rosso JQ. Nonsteroidal treatment of atopic dermatitis in paediatric patients with a ceramide-dominant topical emulsion formulated with an optimized ratio of physiological lipids. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 4(12):25-31. PMID: 22191005; PMCID: PMC3244356.
Tollesson, A. Frithz, A. (1993). Transepidermal water loss and water content in the stratum corneum in infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 73(1):18-20. doi: 10.2340/00015555731820. PMID: 8095744.
Wolff, H.H. Kieser, M. (2007). Hamamelis in children with skin disorders and skin injuries: results of an observational study. European Journal of Pediatrics, 166, 943–948. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-006-0363-1