Eczema runs in my family. It affects my grandfather. It affects my mother. Of course, that means that it was destined to affect me, too.
My eczema first made an appearance in 1996, when I was around six-years-old. My mother noticed large flaky patches on my scalp as she styled my hair one day. These patches were itchy, so I scratched them as any child would do. This led to some of the flakes scattering into my hair—which well-meaning elementary school kids misconstrued as lice on occasion—and sores appearing on my scalp.
My mother applied this nasty oil called Sulfur 8 on my scalp to try combating the eczema. Not only did it stink, but the heavy oil weighed down my hair. Playmates asked why my pigtails did not bob up and down as I ran across the playground. Sulfur 8 says NO to bouncy pigtails, y’all. On top of that, leaning my head against the school bus seats left an oil patch that I would have to hurriedly wipe away with my sweater sleeve before another student could see my residue.
I dealt with the dreaded Sulfur 8 through middle school, until I took over my own haircare in high school. This meant relatively ignoring the eczema throughout the week and letting my grandmother sit me in a chair three times a week to scratch off the flakes from my scalp, after which I’d immediately hop in the shower to wash my hair.
Serious props to my grandmother for doing that. So many props.
Around this time, I also developed eczema patches on my arms. As a stereotypical goth kid in high school, I wore thick, gaudy, leather Hot Topic bracelets on my arms each day. My skin sweated under my nature-unfriendly fashion statements, and large patches of itchy eczema formed in their wake to punish me. I quickly discovered a miracle known as hydrocortisone cream, and applying that to my reddened skin several times per day kept the discomfort to a minimum.
Let’s jump ahead from 2004 to present-day 2018. I suffer from eczema on my scalp, my face, my neck, and my chest. While the eczema on my scalp and face just appears on its own, the eczema on my neck and chest comes from my necklaces and sometimes even bras (even though all of them are nickel free…to which I am severely allergic). Since I haven’t worn pants since 2014 (jeggings and shorts FTW!!), I haven’t worn a belt since then either. Lucky me. I used to have a giant eczema patch on my tummy right where the metal of my belts would hit.
Fashion is pain, darlings. A sometimes necessary pain.
Using organic shampoos infused with almond oil and honey extracts have helped my scalp more than Head & Shoulders ever did. My makeup regimen (consisting of liquid primer and liquid foundation) help to trap moisture onto my face to prevent eczema, too. My penchant for wearing a full face of makeup nearly daily is only partially for vanity’s sake. It’s mainly to keep my face from falling off.
It’s odd how things that are caused by your own bad decisions are easier to deal with than ailments out of your control. Anytime any eczema appears on my face or tumbles from my hair, it is a huge hit to my self-esteem. It is a skin irritation. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is. There were many days in my past (when I tried using powered foundation—never do this with eczema—and generic shampoos) that I would choose to stay indoors because flakes were falling from my nose, my cheeks, and even my eyebrows!
However, nearly all of the eczema from the neck down are caused by cosmetic details. My chokers. My necklaces. My love of glitter on my chest. My favourite push-ups. I came to accept that I would just suffer eczema on my neck and chest if I didn’t want to dress as a plain jane, and I was fine with that! People would accuse me of having hickeys on my neck, ask what the hell was all over my chest, but I didn’t care.
It’s a skin irritation. One that I couldn’t stand on my face, but had made peace with on my chest. I threw sparkles on the eczema, unafraid to say “This is my body, and I am proud of it!” And aesthetically, I truly didn’t care about the red blotches showing through my tank tops and low-cut shirts.
But another problem is partnered with eczema, ladies and gentlemen.
Eczema comes in flare-ups. While it is always there, you have good days and bad days. You might go to bed with a relatively clear chest and wake up looking as though chickenpox and herpes decided to make a baby in your breasts. And normally a visual sighting wouldn’t alert me to a flare-up.
Whether right as I woke up, midday at work, or while chowing down on dinner, I suddenly would become aware of an absentminded scratching. An uncontrollable scratching. A maddening itching would overtake those areas of my body, and I would have to scratch, scratch, scratch to get relief.
Within hours, there were raised, puffy areas on my neck and chest, sometimes flaking. Then, the pain would start. A cracking sensation, and sometimes the back of my neck would literally bleed from the affliction.
I am not a huge fan of most modern medicine (which is another article for another day). Yes, it is essential for many health conditions, but a good number of health conditions can be resolved with better nutrition, sleep, and lifestyle changes. Whenever forced by my mother, I would see a dermatologist and get prescribed medicine to help my eczema.
Medicated shampoo stinks, y’all. And it’s terrible for your hair. And it doesn’t eliminate the eczema. I would walk around with smelly, dull hair and still have to pull flakes the size of Manhattan off my scalp at the end of the day. Trust me. Almond oil shampoo is much better.
And much cheaper.
The creams I would be prescribed would help, but only if used five times each day. Miss a dose? It’s game over. Over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream is much better.
And, again, much cheaper.
But this past March, I finally found a product that truly helped my eczema. The holy grail for skin conditions. Something that I’d never even heard of and have still not researched even to this day.
Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water.
While at EvilleCon 2018, my best friend Lee brought a bottle of this clear water to our hotel room. “Try this,” she told me. “It’s good for your skin.”
After a lifetime of skin conditions, I am especially leery of putting random crap on my face, but Lee knows about my skin issues and shares some of them, so I decided to give it a try. At this time, my chest and my neck were both painful to the touch and bleeding slightly, and I had an awkward patch of roughness under my bottom lip that was quite noticeable in selfies. I sloshed the Micellar Water on my face, neck, and chest without another thought and went to bed.
The next morning, my skin—although still irritated—looked far more normal than the previous night. I washed my face and chest as normal and then applied more of the Water. It was soothing on my skin, which I welcomed immensely. By the end of the three day weekend, the flare-up was gone. Convention saved!
Now for the best part…
My last eczema flare-up was March 22nd, 2018, the day that I left for EvilleCon 2018. While I still have scarring on my skin from nearly two decades of flare-ups, the overall texture of the skin is much healthier and less brittle, and no new patches have appeared.
Garnier Micellar Water. Twice per day. I’ve been massaging some onto my scalp, and my scalp is healthy!
This is the first time in nearly twenty-two years—since my scalp first went awol—that I am eczema free. And that is something that I never thought I’d be able to say.
I haven’t bothered researching Garnier Micellar Water yet, but do I need to? It helps in ways that I never expected, and in ways that the bottle doesn’t even advertise. What good would researching it do for me? You could tell me that it was a bottle of goat urine, and I would still use it. Not even kidding.
Ulta advertises Garnier Micellar Water for nearly $9.00 USD per bottle, the same as Garnier’s official website. Nah. Grab your bottle from Kroger or Walmart for around $5.00 USD per bottle, and use that extra $4 for your hydrocortisone cream.
Garnier Micellar Water is a new product that others need to know about. In the past two months, Lee and I discovered that Micellar Water is also great for eye styes and blood blisters. Again, miracle product.
For those with clear skin, Garnier Micellar Water still refreshes and rejuvenates the skin. For those with any number of skin ailments, give Garnier Micellar Water a try. You won’t regret it 🙂