While the exact cause of eczema is still unknown, this skin condition which affects as many as 30 million Americans is associated with deficiencies in skin lipids, allergic reactions to chemicals, increased skin pH, and excessive inflammation resulting from colonization with the Staph. aureus bacteria.
People with allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma and those with skin problems such as keratosis pilaris and psoriasis have been found to be increasingly prone to eczema. Genetics also play a role in predisposing one to eczema.
Admittedly, many people struggle to find an eczema treatment plan that works long-term. Different treatments work differently for different people and this is why it is important to work closely with a dermatologist to find a treatment plan that works specifically for you.
Part of keeping eczema under control is identifying and minimizing your exposure to triggers. Some known triggers include essential oils, fragrances, lanolin, topical antibiotics such as neomycin and bacitracin, sulfates, azo dyes, harsh soaps, chlorine, and allergens such as pollen, mold, and dander.
Extremely hot or cold temperatures, perspiration, humidity, hormonal imbalances, illness, stress, and certain foods can also trigger an eczema breakout.
The red patches, scaly skin and chronic scratching that result from eczema can be very embarrassing especially for celebrities who are constantly under the public’s gaze.
Unsurprisingly, very few celebrities have come out publicly to acknowledge their condition due to the stigma associated with eczema. But, if you are a fellow sufferer of this skin condition, you can at least take heart that you are in the company of superstars such as:
Kerry Washington, famously known for her role as Olivia Pope in popular ABC drama Scandal, has had eczema since she was eight years old. Washington says her number one skin care routine is never, ever sleeping with makeup on.
She takes her makeup off with the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes after which she cleanses to ensure that none of that TV makeup clogs her pores, which could potentially cause a flare-up.
The Scandal star also swears by hyaluronic acid which she applies to her face. Hyaluronic acid not only slows down the effects of aging; it is also a pretty good moisturizer and works to heal skin wounds, burns and ulcers. Kerry also uses the Neutrogena Hydroboost Cosmetics, a foundation that contains hyaluronic acid.
LeAnn Rimes became a country music sensation only aged 13 years so the beautiful blonde has been in the limelight pretty much all her life!
Despite having what seems like a fairy-tale life, Rimes has struggled with severe eczema and psoriasis since she was a child. In her case, flare-ups would make her skin so raw, red, scaly and oozy that she was bullied a lot growing up.
Although her parents applied topical steroids all over her body for many years, these did not provide a long-term solution. Later, in her adulthood, after years of covering up her skin with stockings and long dresses during performances, Rimes met a good dermatologist whom she says helped her come up with a treatment plan that has helped control her eczema.
Rimes uses Elidel to manage her eczema but she advises anyone with this skin condition to consult a doctor before starting any treatment. In addition to her eczema medication, LeAnn also sticks to a simple skin-care routine which includes:
- Avoiding long hot baths
- Using fragrance-free moisturizer
- Getting exposure to unprotected sun every day for about 20 minutes whenever possible
- Wearing sunscreen
Nadia Sawalha, best known for her role as Annie Palmer in the long-running British series EastEnders, is surprisingly public about her personal struggles including her battle with eczema.
Sawalha’s first experience with the skin condition was after a break up with her boyfriend at age 17.
Her brief encounter with eczema disappeared and then later reappeared at the age of 39, just six months after the birth of her first daughter. The condition began as tiny rashes on her left hand.
After yet another particularly serious bout of eczema that left her hand sore she opted to see a homeopath as a last resort. Nadia says her homeopath prescribed Eurasian shrub extra known as mezereum, which has traditionally been used to heal skin problems.
Within 48 hours, her skin began to renew itself and since then she only deals with mild eczema especially when she is stressed but beyond that, her skin condition is largely under control.
Tia Mowry is famously known for her lead role in the sitcom Sister Sister. The now mother-of-two admits she struggled with eczema for several years. Like Nadia Sawalha, Tia’s eczema also began as small bumps that wouldn’t stop itching.
The Cooking Channel star says that after she was diagnosed with endometriosis and was also dealing with eczema at the same time, she knew it was time to radically change her lifestyle.
She eliminated dairy from her diet and replaced this with whole foods. These changes resulted in not only her losing weight, conceiving and saying goodbye to migraines, her eczema also disappeared.
This supports the proposition that certain foods could be triggers for eczema.
Mowry also partnered with Eucerin, a body and face care brand for those suffering from eczema. She uses oil-free crèmes such as Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Crème after showering and Eucerin Sensitive Skin Gently Hydrating Cleanser to cleanse her face.
These go-to solutions keep her skin moist and her face squeaky clean to avoid clogging, which can trigger a breakout.
For those with an interest in culinary, Elizabeth Falkner is probably a familiar face. Falkner, a restaurateur, celebrity chef, and media personality has battled with atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, for over two decades.
The now 52-year old consulting chef first developed intensely itchy, red and flaky lesions on her leg in her early thirties. The condition gradually spread to her hands and this had a huge impact on her career as a chef given that her job involved dealing with high heat, dry air, and constant hand-washing.
Falkner is one of the few celebrities who continue to be very vocal about her skin condition. She says that other than being lucky to find a dermatologist that worked with her to establish a solid treatment plan, she also identified stress as the biggest trigger for her eczema. As such, she tries to ease stress by going for acupuncture treatment once a month.
She also does yoga, Pilates and enjoys regular massages in addition to regular exercise.
Who doesn’t envy Nicole’s complexion? Yet beyond that dewy, perpetually youthful and fair skin is a story of allergies and sensitivity.The Academy Award and Golden Globe winner has been spotted severally with red-raw hands, an indication that she struggles with eczema, even though she's never publicly come out to discuss this condition.
Is it a coincidence that the Australian actress seems to be drawn to film characters with skin problems such as her roles in the Practical Magic, The Others, and Stepford Wives? Makes you wonder.
Hollywood star Catherine Zeta-Jones hardly looks like the type of person who would be suffering from an incurable skin condition.
This timeless beauty has in the past admitted that she’s battled with eczema since she was a kid. To alleviate the itchiness and to keep her skin moisturized, Catherine says her mother would use the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, a product the 48-year-old still generously applies on her elbows, lips, and toes to date.
Another secret to her radiant skin? Argan oil! Catherine says all the traveling can wreak havoc on her skin but saturating her face and body with Argan oil at night helps to nourish and keep her skin hydrated.
Women in Morocco have traditionally used organic Argan oil to eradicate stretch marks, acne, wrinkles and dry skin. Argan oil is extracted from the nuts of the Argan tree.
So there you are! If you are an eczema sufferer, remember you are not alone. Just like your favorite celebrities, it is entirely possible for you to manage this skin condition. Before using any products or treatment regimes, it is best to find a good dermatologist who will work with you to bring the condition under control and who can also introduce you to a great support network.