Patient Blogs | Atopic Dermatitis
Beauty Product Tips From an Eczema Fighter With Skin Allergies
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Since I was a child, my skin has ranged from normal, to dry, to very dry. I’ve had almost no pimples in my life. It would be a fantastic skin story if my eczema wasn’t so prominent. I’ve been aware of my eczema and skin allergies for almost 15 years. During these skin sensitivity-aware years, I’ve learned much about desiring, buying, and testing beauty products.

Desiring Products

The hardest lesson I’ve learned is that I should let go of my desires for trendy and exciting skin care and beauty products. I buy only what I actually need. Do you have to have yellow, purple, and pink eyeshadows? A 25-year-old me would’ve shouted, “But of course!” A 39-year-old me has had enough eyeshadow skin reactions to know it’s not worth it.

Being a minimalist with skin products has gotten me far. The fewer product types I try, the fewer potential reactions and wasted dollars. I am very mindful and careful about the products I purchase and put on my body. Which leads to the products I do choose to buy.

Buying Products

I am a big believer in skin allergy testing because bodies react differently to ingredients and materials. When I choose to buy a beauty product, I look at its ingredients list and compare it to my list of skin allergens. My allergen list is long. There are ingredients known by multiple names, so this method isn’t foolproof or easy, but it’s still helpful for identifying whether a product has ingredients that don’t vibe well with my body. There have been many more products I’ve considered and discarded before purchasing versus products I’ve purchased and tested. Speaking of testing …

Testing Products

The hardest but most important step for testing a product is truly isolating the product, so that a reaction or lack of reaction can be confidently attributed to the product being tested. This isn’t easy because sometimes our bodies react to something totally unrelated or even unknown. I’ve had a few situations where I was about to test a new product and my skin flared up right beforehand -- to which I’ve said, “If I had started testing that new product, I would’ve assumed it caused my flare-up!”

Although testing a product on your own is not a clear, black-and-white situation, it’s still a good idea. Unless I get an obvious reaction from a product, I test a few times to ensure a product is safe for me to use. But for how long is the product safe to use?

Long-Term Compatibility and Reactions

Usually, once I’ve tested and cleared a product for myself, I’m able to use it for years. However, a product’s ingredients can be changed by the manufacturer after some time, so I have to stay alert for reactions. I love successful beauty product stories: desiring a product, purchasing it, testing it, not reacting to it, and using it long term. But what if there’s a reaction? For me, it’s not always as easy as saying, “Oh, well, I reacted to it, so won’t use it.” Sometimes, the flare-up happens on a part of my body that’s always been clear of eczema and becomes a new long-term flare-up spot for me! This is why I am a minimalist with the products I put on my body. “Why risk it?” I tell myself.

That said, I do have insatiable desires sometimes … and I also fall for Instagram ads. This is why I have a new shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel in my bathroom right now that I carefully purchased and am preparing for testing. Even though, I already have hair products that I know are safe. I’m only human, after all!


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Photo Credit: Oscar Wong / Moment via Getty Images

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Helen Piña

Helen Piña

Diagnosed since 1999

Helen Piña has lived with chronic atopic dermatitis (eczema) and skin allergies for most of her life. She’s committed to offering support, advice, and compassion to fellow eczema fighters through her Itchy Pineapple blog. Piña is married with two young children and is a marketing leader in the B2B tech industry. She lives in Houston, TX.

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