So Soothing: The Skincare To Use While Navigating An Eczema Flare-Up

By Ashleigh Cometti
One expert shares her tips on building a flare-up-friendly skincare routine. Photo / Karen Inderbitzen Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that conjures images of red, blotchy skin.

Anyone who’s prone to eczema will know just how tricky and frustrating it is to treat, especially when your symptoms are flaring and nothing seems to help.

The term “flare-up” is commonly

So, what can you do about it? And how can you prevent future flare-ups?

To answer these burning questions, we asked Michele Evrard, a qualified pharmacologist and the founder of Cosmetics 27, who built her cosmeceutical skincare brand on the premise of skin longevity.

The causes

Eczema can manifest differently from person to person, but common triggers can include shifts in the weather, whether that be cold and dry or intense heat and humidity, stress, allergies, or harsh skincare products full of chemicals, foaming agents or fragrance.

Michele says even as a skincare founder, she can be prone to dermatitis and skin dryness and says the extreme changes in weather we’re currently experiencing won’t be helping our skin.

“It being humid one day and not the next isn’t great for skin, not to mention the heat shocks from being inside with heating then out in the cold. Skin likes to draw moisture from everywhere, which is why it’s hard when the climate is so cold and dry,” she says.

Things to avoid

Sad news, makeup lovers — makeup is among one of Michele’s big no-nos while skin is flaring, especially as many formulas can be ultra-drying on the skin.

“Applying makeup is one of the worst things you can do. Any makeup that contains a pigment will be drying — especially heavy foundations,” she explains.

“Most people prefer to let their skin breathe, but if you absolutely have to wear makeup, look for gentle, hydrating formulas.”

Not all makeup is created equal, of course, and there are a few brands out there that promise the skin-caring benefits of ingredients befitting moisturiser rather than foundation. A handful of hypoallergenic makeup brands have formulas geared towards eczema-prone skin, which responds better to liquid formats over ultra-drying powders.

Too-hot showers are also off the cards. Instead, try a lukewarm bath or shower once a day, followed by a bolt of cold water. “Hot water can be a temperature shock, so always finish with a rinse of cool or cold water,” Michele says.

Ingredients to look out for

Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products are your best bet when treating and preventing skin flare-ups.

Centella asiatica is a herb native to Southeast Asia that has been used medicinally for centuries to soothe and treat a multitude of skin conditions. More recently, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been blended into skincare said to soothe and repair red, irritated skin while stimulating collagen production.

Ceramides and lipids commonly crop up in moisturisers said to boost the skin’s barrier function and form a protective layer on skin to lock in moisture while defending against environmental damage.

Glycerin is an excellent all-rounder. Its non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic nature means it cooperates with most skin types, including acne or eczema-prone skin. It’s also a natural humectant, meaning it draws water to the skin’s surface and keeps it there.

Colloidal oatmeal is a natural emollient, which helps to treat and relieve the symptoms of eczema. Its anti-inflammatory nature helps to bring down redness and irritation while providing moisture back into the skin.

Build a flare-up-friendly skincare routine

A strong skin barrier and balanced microbiome are crucial to preventing skin flare-ups, so the key is to keep your routine gentle and simple. A cleanser and moisturiser are all that’s required, alongside sunscreen.

Look for a gentle cleanser that aims to wash away dirt, impurities and makeup but keeps the skin barrier intact. Cleansers geared towards sensitive skin types do an excellent job of this, keeping sebum levels in check but thoroughly cleansing skin at the same time.

Next, select a moisturiser that supports the skin barrier — replenishing moisture levels and preventing further dryness or irritation. Humectant or emollient-rich moisturisers are your best bet to seal in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss.

The final step should be a zinc-based, SPF-rated sunscreen, which is kinder to sensitive skin than its chemical counterparts.

Skin soothers to add to cart

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