You’re probably aware that certain cosmetic ingredients may irritate your skin if you have eczema. However, this doesn't mean you have to stop using all cosmetic products. While some products may cause a flare-up, others contain ingredients that are mild on your face and neck's delicate skin. The key is to recognise the differences.
Ingredients to look out for?
Emollients can help to hydrate and improve the skin softness, flexibility, and smoothness. Squalane is an odourless oil that does not leave an oily feel and is safe for sensitive skin. Look for skincare products that have squalane listed among the first few ingredients.
A highly effective humectant (water-loving substance), glycerin can help with wound healing, improve dry, cracked skin and increase the skin’s water content. Due to their ability to attract and trap moisture, glycerin is beneficial for optimal skin barrier health.
If dryness is an issue no matter how much moisturiser you apply, consider using a serum or cream that contains this skin-identical ingredient. Ceramides can help to provide sustained moisturisation for the skin, reducing the need for frequent reapplication of moisturiser throughout the day and is great for people with eczema.
Steer clear of:
While great for acne and anti-aging, retinoids have a tendency to dry out or irritate the skin, which is problematic for eczema sufferers. A weakened or compromised skin barrier can exacerbate the condition by allowing water to escape and evaporate from the skin. When that happens, irritating substances can penetrate the skin more easily, causing inflammation. Thus, it is recommended to avoid ingredients that can contribute to this problem.
2. Certain preservatives
Preservatives like Methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) help prevent nasty bacteria from forming in cosmetics and skincare products. But they are also skin sensitisers and are one of the most frequent causes of preservative contact allergy. When possible, choose skincare products that contain alternative preservatives instead.
3. Fragrances and essential oils
Fragrances and essential oils, both natural and synthetic, are relatively common allergens that can provoke eczema flare-ups, no matter how delicate and gentle the scent is. If you have sensitive skin or eczema-prone skin, avoid these ingredients as much as possible. What's your best bet? Choose cosmetic products that are designed to be gentle on the skin and look for products that are labelled "fragrance-free" rather than "unscented.” Always check the labels to be sure.
Other things to note:
1. Choose creams or ointments over lotions
If you have eczema-prone skin and are looking for relief, consider using creams or ointments instead of lotions. Since lotions have a much higher water-to-oil ratio, moisture can evaporate quickly and leave the skin feeling drier than before. On the other hand, creams have a higher percentage of oils that help to provide a barrier and keep the skin well-hydrated. Ideally, you want to look out for creams that contain three important lipids that make up your skin’s barrier: cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids, at approximately equal ratios.
2. Choose low pH skincare products
The skin has a slightly acidic pH, which is an important factor in preventing infection. When this pH is out of the ideal range, it can cause eczema and other skin conditions. Always choose skincare products that help to maintain the skin’s naturally acidic pH.
3. Moisturise diligently
Use a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser within 3 minutes after a short, lukewarm – not hot – shower or bath. Be sure to always apply moisturiser on slightly damp skin (pat skin semi-dry with a soft, 100% cotton towel first) in order to effectively lock in the moisture. Avoid rubbing or drying the skin out completely.
If your eczema is chronic, severe, or not alleviated by over-the-counter products, then it’s time to see a dermatologist. Your dermatologist can help you navigate through your skincare routine and recommend suitable products and anti-inflammatory medication for your condition. In the meantime, invest in gentle and effective skincare products, such as Kansoskin’s Simply Better Barrier™ moisturiser. Alternatively, get in touch with us for more information on our products.