How to Find the Best Soaps For Eczema
Last updated: February 2020
Cleansing and sanitation are so important when you have eczema! But sometimes, the search for a safe formula that won't sting can make one dubious when it comes to selecting and purchasing the perfect cleanser for their sensitive skin. There are seas of selections, in stores and online, all with the same promise of healing and beautification. And, there are seemingly mysterious ingredients that may or may not help us.
The troubles of cleansing
It can be so maddening to attempt to wash yourself thinking that the guarantees on the packaging of the soap we’ve purchased will hold true for us. It can make you almost want to give up on cleansing altogether just to avoid the pain. It's hard enough dealing with chlorinated water stinging our wounds without also having to deal with added irritation from a soap that might contain drying alcohol, irritating fragrance, or skin barrier-stripping sodium lauryl sulfate.
Terry’s rules for soap selection:
Having lived with eczema for nearly 30 years now, I have found that not all hope is lost when it comes to finding a proper soap that will still cleanse me well even with rashes. Below are some rules that I have for myself when I go to select a soap. They have served me well for the past 6 years that I have committed to living a more eco-friendly and cruelty-free life and in sticking to them I am always able to find soaps that work for me whether they are in person or online. It's a great time to be alive when technology makes safer ingredients and products more accessible to us!
1. Avoid synthetic chemicals
Make sure that little to none of the ingredients contain completely synthetic chemicals. Now having said this, not all chemicals or chemical-sounding ingredients are necessarily bad.
Polysorbate 60 is a derivative from fruit and used for emulsification of oils into water-based formulas. Caprylic acid is a fatty acid derived from coconuts and is wonderful for wound healing and deep hydration.
But for sure ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, Dimethicone, parabens, and phenoxyethanol are to be avoided because of their negative effects on sensitive skin and carcinogenic properties.
2. Choose an oil-based formula
Choose an oil-based formula. Since dirt is also oil-based and oil dissolves oil, this will make it much more effective at breaking down the dirt on the top layer of your skin without drying it out and leaving more of a protective barrier on your skin afterward even after you rinse off.
3. Pick soaps with essential oils
Only use soaps with essential oils that you know you are not reactive to. Essential oils are quite concentrated and are volatile, potentially making your skin photosensitive as well. Knowing what works well with your skin type is very important. This may not be easy to predict, but over time as you patch test different oils and soaps, you will start to see patterns of irritation and relief.
My essential oil kryptonite
For example, although I don't get itchy from citrus oils and I can eat citrus fruits, using products with citrus essential oils totally dries out my skin. I can't even use lemon or orange scented lip balm as my lips will start to crack as soon as it absorbs into the deeper layers of my skin.
My essential oil go-to's
But, on the flip side I can use cooling effervescent oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, and peppermint with no problem and they leave my skin--even on my lips--feeling very refreshed and clean with no problems whatsoever.
4. Look for skin calming and healing ingredients
Seek out skin-calming and healing ingredients such as calendula, comfrey, rose, marshmallow root, and aloe vera assuming that you are not allergic to any of those ingredients. Choose therapeutic soaps with these ingredients to double up as both a cleansing and wound healing treatment in one.
4. Do some research
When in doubt, Google it. I have often dedicated at least 1 to 2 hours when it has come when it comes to selecting a new skincare product like soap for my skin. I know some people are not very patient with doing research, but in the long run if you want to be a hundred percent sure that you are investing your money in products that will work for you and make you feel good as well as help your skin heal better and faster, it's worth the time and the effort to search for ingredients that you are not completely sure of.
Become a skincare master
Over time, you will start to recognize them and really know their origins, that you will essentially become a skincare guru compared to your friends and colleagues. And, they may start going to you for advice when it comes to selecting their next skin care product.
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