Ouch! Your face is dry, sore and horribly itchy!
The corners of your mouth are cracking painfully and your eyes suddenly look fifty years older than the rest of your body. Your cheeks are red and rough, your forehead is bumpy, everything is sore...Such are the trials and traumas of having a face that flares-up with the slightest whiff of anything fun.
Eczema anywhere on the body can be hard enough to cope with, but eczema on the face can be especially devastating because it affects how you present yourself to the world, crushing self-confidence and making going out a source of anxiety rather than delight.
So what can be done for itchy-scratchy faces? Here are our top 10 tips for looking after your precious face, even when things get rough.
Take Good Care
Remember that the skin of the face is thinner and more delicate than most other areas of the body. This means high potency topical steroids are a no-no, so you’ll need to find other ways of soothing and caring for your sore face.
Dodge the Soap
That means no SLS, no soap, no alcohol, no perfumes, no colourants when your face is really sore. Find a non-synthetic, non-soap cleanser to keep your face clean - still really important because eczema means the skin is more vulnerable to infection.
If you haven’t tried the Oil Cleansing Method yet, give it a go! We have an incredibly pure and nourishing oil made with just four simple natural ingredients (and no essential oils) that works brilliantly as a cleanser for make-up as well as daily grime: Skin Salvation Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil.
Ointment Not Cream
If the skin is cracked, use ointments for intense but gentle moisturising, not water-based creams which can sting. If you find ointments too oily for daytime use, then apply them last thing at night and let them work their magic while you sleep. Try Skin Salvation Intensive Moisturising Ointment, which an incredible 99% of people stated did not sting on application. (*from a survey of over 500)
Easy On The Eyes
Be extra careful with the delicate areas around eyes, noses and the corners of the mouth. Warm up ointment in your fingers to soften it before applying around the eyes, dabbing it on gently rather than rubbing it in. You can pop a tube of our luscious Lip Balm in your pocket for applying to eyes, nose and mouth; it’s made of the same balm as our ointment.
Avoid thick make-up if you possibly can, but don’t give yourself a hard time if you want to cover up. If your self-confidence is taking a battering and you can’t bear to go out without make-up, try to find a foundation that is less likely to flare you up. Avoid ones which contain fragrance and alcohol and go as natural as possible.
Keep It Cool
Use warm water to wash, rather than very hot or very cold; you want it body temperature to reduce the chance of your skin reacting.
Change Your Environment
This one is hard but is worth knowing about: sensitive faces need to avoid getting hot and sweaty, or dry and dusty. If you overheat or spend too long in dry conditions (central heating or aircon are prime culprits) then wash your face in warm water and then moisturise immediately.
Be Kind To Yourself
Stress just makes eczema worse... which is all very well to know but not always easy to act on. So just do what you can and make self-care part of your skin routine. If you can treat yourself to something cheering, then do. A new hat, a pair of (non-itchy!) socks, a china elephant: whatever sparks joy! Go check out some of the lovely, life-affirming and brave #skinpositivity blogs out there. Follow our own guest blogger, Amara Howe on Instagram for some honest talk about living with eczema.
Remember That You’re Not Alone
...and that no one - not even the heavily-filtered Instagram-famous with their four billion followers - has flawless skin. So love the skin you’re in - even if it lets you down occasionally.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.