I have struggled with dry skin and eczema most of my life, mainly during the winter months. My dry skin is worst on my legs, while my eczema usually appears in one or two spots during the colder seasons and then comes and goes in varying degrees. Two years ago, it was a couple of patches on select fingers. Last year, it was my right palm and my wrists. I also had a dry skin outbreak around my eyes (which was particularly devastating) and patches have cropped up on the backs of my thighs in years past.
I don’t know if many of you saw the HBO series “The Night Of” (it was excellent and you totally should) but one of the side storylines was the lawyer’s struggle with eczema and how he has to go to more and more dire methods to try and cure himself. His efforts (like moisturizing his feet, wrapping them in plastic wrap and then wearing sandals in the winter) make him look like the last person you would want to sit down next to on the subway and I kept watching thinking, “OH MY GOD. IS THIS MY FUTURE???”
After going through this process year after year (I am currently terrified of the coming months and wondering what area I will need to combat), I’ve found two things to be true. 1) Moisturizing consistently (whether I currently have a patch of eczema or not) is key so that I am not just trying to heal things once they start. 2) Water plays a huge role in my outbreaks.
I have always found that the more I wash my hands, the more prone I am to eczema flare-ups. I think it probably has less to do with water and more to do with soaps drying out my hands. Still, if my hands are not thoroughly dried after rinsing or washing, I run into skin issues. This has become even more complicated since I became a parent, because in addition to taking a shower and washing my own hands, I am also giving baths to my kids and washing their hands.
Giving my daughters a bath is the absolute worst when my skin is particularly irritated.
And do I need to mention how much more time is dedicated to doing dishes?
After taking a shower or washing my hands or washing my kids or doing the dishes, I am always very conscious of drying every crevice between my fingers so my skin doesn’t get irritated. I also know that if I pick moisturizers that are too thick and don’t let my skin breathe, I tend to have a flare-up as well. It’s a very weird balance between keeping moisturized and keeping dry that I am still trying to master.
When Curel introduced me to their Hydra Therapy lotion this past summer, it was interesting to me because it specifically needs water to activate. So, in a way, it takes something I look at as a negative (getting wet) and turns it into a positive. I thought it was worth a shot.
When I started working with them, it was the summer. You can see the video I made for Curel here. I really liked the act of putting on the lotion while I was still wet after the shower, because it felt like a time saver. Basically it cuts the step of needing to dry off twice and made it easier to fit into my routine. And it worked. My skin became smoother, even the heels of my feet(!) which are usually embarrassingly dry and I had no new eczema flare-ups.
But it wasn’t really a true test since my skin is at it’s best in the summer and gets worse as the weather gets colder.
I have continued to use Curel Hydra Therapy throughout the fall and so far, so good. My skin is way smoother than it usually is this time of year. I like that the wet application makes the moisturizer feel light and breathable, while still being really effective. I like that it’s something I can easily do after I finish bathing my kids. But’s mid-December and the worst is obviously yet to come. Today, as I write this, it’s a blustery 20 degree day and it’s only going to get colder and more likely to irritate my skin.
Especially, since I am big fan of outdoor winter activities with the kids.
But I’m armed with my moisturizer, I’m keeping consistent, I’m applying when wet and I’m hoping for the best.
So far so good!
I have partnered with Curél to share how I break the rules of dry skin. Please click here to learn more about Curél Hydra Therapy and how you can end dry skin for good.