I have been an eczema sufferer since I was a child. I realise now that I was very lucky, as it was mild and it appeared predominantly on my cheeks. At its worse, it did make me feel a bit self-conscious, particularly when well-meaning friends or family would ask what was on my face. But I have to admit, that it is only in reading other people’s stories, that I realised that this condition can have such a negative impact for many.
For me, I now use mine as a sign that I haven’t been looking after myself or eating properly and I always know exactly what I need to do. I am also an Aromatherapist so it is relatively easy to make up a product to ease my symptoms. But that hasn’t always been the case. As with most sufferers, I was prescribed with aqueous creams, steroid creams etc. But when I hit my late teens my eczema got worse and the steroids creams got stronger. Over this period of time and into my twenties, I noticed my complexion had lightened. I first put this down to age, but after being advised to stop using strong steroids on my face. I realised that this was the cause and I needed to try and find the root cause of my eczema. After lots of persistence, my GP agreed to send me for allergy testing and I discovered I was allergic to Parabens and a few other substances. This was the late 90s and Parabens were in all of my beauty and hair products. I literally came home after the results and chucked out 80% of things had been using. It was a real eye opener, but it left me at a loss as to what products I could use. This was the start of the Made by Pure Hands brand you know today. It was my inability to find products to use, that led me to create and my own and find my love of Aromatherapy. Over the years through study and working with clients, I have learnt that this condition has many triggers which can make it hard to find the root cause of the condition. But it is a journey I encourage eczema sufferers to take, because once you know your triggers, you learn how to manage the condition. I realise this can be like finding a needle in a haystack, as there are a whole host of triggers. Dust, diet, beauty products, stress, even your hormones can be a trigger the condition. But whilst you are on your journey, many Complementary Therapies can assist you, and help to manage the condition. Here are my top tips to start you in the right direction. Get a proper Diagnosis – Knowing more about your condition will enable you to find out what type eczema you have. This will help you on your journey. Get an Allergy Test – A diagnosis will start with an allergy test. It’s good to know which substances you are allergic to, so you can limit or stop contact with them to improve the condition. Your GP can send you for allergy testing, or if you don’t want to wait, go private. Document your Eczema Journey - Is there certain times of the year, month, week when your eczema is worse? Seasonal weather could also be a trigger. As could where you live (in terms of hard water areas compared to areas that have softer water areas). Do you notice that your eczema is worse when you are stressed, or are going through a difficult period? Investigate your Diet - What we eat plays a vital role in our health and often our largest organ (the skin) is where the results show up. There have been many many articles investigating the link between EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and conditions like eczema. EFAs have definitely improved my skin condition and there was a noticeable difference when I cut back on these during pregnancy. If you’d like to learn more, enlisting the services of a good Nutritionist will help you on your journey. Manage your stress levels – Too much prolonged periods of stress is not good for anyone. We now know that too much stress in the body, can have a negative effect on us. See what small lifestyle changes you can make to help you manage your stress levels, whether it be exercise, yoga, meditation. Find something that works for you, and ask a buddy to help you stick to your new activity. Stick to natural products and limit the different types you use – As a young lady, I was obsessed with a beautifully packaged beauty product, but it became very apparent, they didn’t love me. I always remember excitingly purchasing a beautiful jar of bath salts that smelt divine. Only trouble was, my skin hated it and it left my body covered in dry eczema patches. I now make my own, but there are lots of products on the market that are made with less harmful ingredients. Make Oats your Best Friend – I may prefer my oats as a bircher-style breakfast porridge or as granola, but I absolutely love them in the bath as they have anti-inflammatory properties and eczema is an inflammatory condition. It is so simple to do, and really helps to soothe the soreness and itchiness eczema can bring. Simply put one tablespoon in an old muslin cloth or pair of tights (use a natural colour) and tie to your tap and run your bath. Once you have your desired temperature and amount of water, untie the muslin from the tap and drop in the bath. Squeeze out all that milky goodness before entering. I also like to add 3 or 4 drops of Roman Chamomile and Lavender. See a Complementary Therapist – There are many therapies that are great at supporting your eczema journey but as I am an Aromatherapist, I will discuss the benefits I’ve seen with me and those of my clients. Aromatherapy has done wonders in helping me manage the condition. There are lot of anti-inflammatory oils that really heal and sooth eczema conditions, from vegetable oils like Avocado and Calendula, (which I always have in my Aromatherapy kit) to essential oils such as the Chamomiles, Myrrh, Yarrow, Lavender, Geranium, Rose and Carrot Seed (see my eczema oil recipe). You also, book a consultation to have something made for you.