Part Two: Living with eczema as an adult.

Things which helped me get through the 2.5 years of eczema/food allergies/bad health. I have zero photo-taking skills so I’m appropriating the photos from the internet, until I have more enthusiasm for photography. All photos are of the exact products that I’m using/have used.

Skin care!

Tea tree oil, my favourite kind is by Thursday Plantation but I suppose any brand of tea tree oil would work! You can mix with water or other carrier oils for a nice room scent. Just don’t spray it on laminated wood surfaces because it leaves an oily stain and my mom always complains.

Tea tree cream, for the itchy rashes at night. I leave it in the fridge because the hot weather in Singapore causes it to turn into a white/yellow liquid. Still usable, but oily. The selling price at Watsons/Guardian is really marked up, so don’t buy from there unless you can’t wait for shipping.

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Oatmeal baths! Use a sock to contain the oatmeal, fill the tub up with warm water (not hot, although I know it feels good, sigh.) and let the oatmeal goodness turn your water milky. Do remember to rinse it off and don’t clog the drain up with oatmeal bits. I got scolded a few times lol. If you don’t have a bathtub, just use a food processor and blend the oatmeal really finely. In the middle of your shower, mix it with water and leave it as a paste on your skin, and then gently rinse it off to avoid irritating your skin. It’s okay if you add too much water, after a while the oats will expand 🙂

Aloe vera gel, to cool down the skin and to calm the red patches. I reapply it whenever I wake up during the night to scratch ): I’ve tried several versions of this, I find that Lily of the Desert feels a lot harsher on my skin, although it do look more authentically aloe vera. It can turn yellow sometimes, and smells very natural. For Fruit of The Earth, the bottles retail for >SGD$25 at Watsons, but it’s about RM30 per bottle in JB.  I would recommend the Korean ones (Nature Republic and The Face Shop) for those with really sensitive skin, it is a lot less viscous i.e. easier to apply, and it dries faster too. There’s a welcome side effect of scar lightening after prolonged use. There are gels with snail mucus mixed inside but I would not recommend it if you are trying out aloe vera for the first time.

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Lavender room mist. I get mine from Mt Sapola. I think it’s really pricey for a normal lavender room spray, but hey I like their packaging HAHAH. Cheap- okay not cheap- thrills. It’s a conditioning exercise for my brain, whenever I smell the mist I know it’s time to sleep.

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Vaseline. No one told me that Vaseline heals open wounds! When the rash has scabbed over, and there’s no more pus, make sure the area is clean (no dried blood etc), and then apply a thick coat of Vaseline. The wound will heal A LOT FASTER. Dude I was so mad when I tried it out by accident and I realised that it healed my rashes really quickly, I was like “you mean I could have avoided my scars?!” It’s something to do with keeping the wound protected and moist, like how tattoo artists will wrap the tattoo with cling wrap and tell you to heal it that way.

Okay but word of caution if you like to sit on floors like I do. It can be difficult to clean because of the oily texture. Also, try out a thin layer before slathering it on, just in case your skin suffocates and reacts badly to it.

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Hiruscar – for the tonne of scars I have from chicken pox, falling down, eczema, heat rash etc etc. My skin is very sensitive, a blood donation bruise can take two weeks to fade. Bleurgh. I don’t think they work, or maybe that’s because I heal very slowly in general. Tofu once asked if I was diabetic lol.

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Lucas papaw ointment – I think I just like the packaging lol. Does it work better than Vaseline? I don’t think so. But the texture is a bit sticky, so you don’t require as much because the coat stays on for very long. However it is also a lot more expensive than Vaseline.

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Crocodile oil – I started using this for my chicken pox scars, and then my mom bought an extra bottle (about $80-100 per bottle, depending on the brand you buy) so I thought why not apply it to my rashes too. I hate the smell, it is really authentically crocodile and fishy. But it works well on large patches, it has this calming effect on my skin so it doesn’t itch as much. One thing about the bottle is that my first bottle had a faulty pump, it got really messy towards the end when I had to tilt the bottle to get out the remaining oil. And the bottle is quite heavy.

By the way- TCM has medicine to stop the itch. It’s all plant derived, although it’s really disgusting in terms of aesthetic and taste. No one ever instagrams Chinese medicine, lol. My arms are healing really well now that I have only maybe one or two spots of itchiness per night, and I don’t scratch as much. That said, I don’t trust my body, so my nails are always clipped super short.

Hair care!

I don’t know if my hair is related to my health, but I used to have pretty nice hair up till year 1 of university when it got really dry and frizzy. I also bleached it twice, but I did like 3-4 Olaplex treatments and regular Aveda treatments so I don’t know why it’s still dry ): Anyway, these are the hair care products that doesn’t cause my scalp to overproduce oil/dandruff.

Right now I am just trying to finish all my hair care products- the only one that I would repurchase is the Secret De Nuit, I think it is my third or fourth bottle. Cause it has a lovely scent haha. But the bottle is really heavy ): It retails for $78+ at Robinsons I think, sometimes there are discounts at Watsons if you buy multiple Phyto products. For Klorane, I love the chamomile scent!! I started using it when I was blonde/yellow but I’m still using the same brand now 🙂

Good foods!

I bought all my food off iherb- I used to shop at Brown Rice Paradise and other similar nature food stores, but it was all really expensive. Plus, iherb delivers free to your house. I stopped shopping there when I could eat most foods, roughly around September 2016? I forgot what my iherb discount code was already, go find your own lol. They usually have a minimum expenditure for shipping but I normally buy in bulk, so shipping costs weren’t a problem.

 

Enjoy life chocolate is sold at cold storage and various organic stores, but it can go up to $3.50 at some places. Not the best chocolate, but it was allergen free so I ate a lot. That’s where I spent my pocket money ): I considered buying a box off iherb but they don’t ship chocolate to some countries/certain months, so I had to queue up at cold storage, sigh.

The gluten free soy sauce– redmart or the supermarket at Kallang Wave mall! It’s about $5, good buy haha because it pairs well with salmon and potatoes. I couldn’t eat condiments for a long time, this soy sauce saved my life.

Brown rice pasta– it is my favourite brand! I used to buy 5-6 packs and eat it daily, because I couldn’t eat noodles. Even sushi rice (had vinegar, which had gluten) was an issue for me. It is exactly as it says- it doesn’t turn mushy even after over-boiling it. But as I am typing this I’m eating char siew pau lol.

P.S. Eczema is a life-long journey, because I know that I will never completely recover. I know that I have to be more careful around dusty areas (construction sites etc) and watch what I eat (no shellfish!!). And monitor my periods and stress levels. There are a lot of triggers, but I am just keeping it cool and doing what I can to maintain my skin for now.

Love,

Slothy