hand with lotion

I remember nights soaking in a bathtub filled with warm water and baking soda. The skin on my legs and arms was always red and flaking and I couldn’t stop itching. My goal was usually to itch until I started bleeding because then it would sting and I preferred that to itching. The rash would spread to my torso and even my eyelids would be flaky and sore. My knuckles cracked regularly and would bleed and the skin between my toes would split and weep. When I got out of the tub my mom would cover my body with thick Eucerin cream. Still, I itched and sleeping was, on many occasions, a distant thought.

I went often to see my dermatologist. He would put me on oral steroids accompanied with steroid cream and I would be instructed to soak in the tub for 15 minutes before bed and then apply both the steroid cream and Eucerin cream before going to bed and then again in the morning. This was my routine for most of my growing up. The cold, dry winter air always made it worse and several times throughout my youth I went on the oral steroids just to get things under control.

Summertime was always hard because I never wanted to let anyone see my pasty white, eczema scarred legs. I always envied other girls with clear skin on their legs. However, my legs never made me uncomfortable enough to prevent me from wearing shorts in the heat of the summer so I learned to take all the teasing from my sister and cousins with a laugh and a smile.

My life changed after taking a lotion making class when I was in my twenties. One of the things I discovered was the beauty of a humectant. A humectant is added to lotion to keep the skin moist and help it absorb moisture. Unfortunately, most creams on the market are petroleum based. I love petroleum jelly on my baby’s bum to prevent diaper rash because it creates a barrier between the wet diaper and their skin. But, doesn’t it stand to reason then, that if the lotion is petroleum based it will create the same barrier on your skin preventing it from staying hydrated?

After eliminating petroleum from my skincare, and replacing it with natural oils such as avocado and olive oil, I have almost eliminated my problems with eczema. I still have an occasional flare up when the weather changes but they are very mild and clear up easily with a little cortisone cream.

I invite you to explore the possibility of making your own skin care and see if you can’t become just a little more comfortable in your own skin.