My Favorite Part of the (Itchy) Day
Dealing with eczema is no fun, especially when your skin doesn’t want to cooperate. Lately, I’ve found that I really look forward to the hour or so before bed because it is most soothing to my skin, for a few reasons:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve showered in the morning. Somehow during the pandemic when life got flipped upside down, my schedule did, too. Over the summer, with no camps to wake the kids up for, I started to stay up into the wee hours of the night. Some nights, I would do my writing work from 10 pm till after 2 am, jump in the shower at 2 am, go to bed, and then sleep till noon.
Many evenings I would take a walk outside with my oldest daughter, and I would come inside with my skin feeling inflamed and irritated from all the allergens. I couldn’t wait to get in the shower and have the water pelting onto my itchy skin. This is one schedule change I’ve kept since the quarantine - I go to bed earlier now, but I still take a shower at night. It feels so nice at the end of the day to feel the water on my itchy skin. Most days, I still end up showering again in the morning, but there’s something so nice and relaxed, and not rushed, about showering at night, while winding down from the day.
After my shower, I always put on a comfortable cotton tank top and cotton pajama pants. After taking a walk, I think I felt doubly itchy, from the allergens outside and from the clothing against my skin. So I always make sure, after I shower, to wear clothes that will be soothing and not irritate my dry, itchy, inflamed skin.
Once, an allergist told me that because my skin is so reactive, I should take a dose of antihistamine that far exceeds the recommended instructions on the label. That never worked for me - it made me too sleepy. It is hard to find the perfect balance in an antihistamine - something that works but doesn’t make me too drowsy. Claritin doesn't make me tired... but it also does not work so well for me. I find Xyzal to work much better, but it makes me super tired. So, I go with the Xyzal and take it at bedtime only. I feel like I really look forward to taking my Xyzal. It almost signifies the end of the day - I’ve showered, put on clean, cotton pajamas, and now the Xyzal will help curb the itching a bit so I can hopefully get a good night’s sleep.
What’s your routine?
This routine of showering, putting on comfortable pajamas, and taking an antihistamine is soothing to my skin and probably my mind as well. Of course, other things are thrown in there, like brushing my teeth, doing the dishes, and helping the kids with last-minute homework or laundry, but I know that if I do those few things for myself I will feel a little relief mentally and physically. Do you have a routine that helps your skin and your sanity?
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?