Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

Girl opening a present with a disappointed look on her face

Tips for Handling the Gifts you Can’t Use

With names featuring words like “Magic,” “Beautiful,” “Wishes,” “Heaven,” and “Moonlight,” today’s bath products promise luxury, relaxation, rejuvenation, and beauty, which is likely why they’re considered a go-to gift for females of all ages. After all, they smell great, they’re easy to find, and they’re often prepackaged in pretty containers. What’s not to like?

Well, for those of us with atopic dermatitis, a lot.

Look out for those hidden triggers and irritants in the ingredients

Laced with artificial fragrances, synthetic chemicals, and harsh preservatives, the vast majority of gift-basket bath and beauty products spell nothing but trouble for our skin. Unfortunately, while we may get itchy, red, and flaky from such products, our well-meaning relatives, friends, and colleagues often don’t know that. They just see something pretty that smells nice.

It’s the thought that counts.

Truly. It is.

What you can do with those thoughtful, but unusable gifts

While I can’t use these products, and neither can my daughter, I’ve always appreciated every present we’ve received. (And we’ve received a number of prettily packaged, brightly colored beauty products over the years.) However, I’ve realized something about getting presents you can’t use – eventually, you have to find something to do with them.

As my daughter and I can’t be the only ones with this dilemma, I’ve come up with a few shareable options for the post-holiday season:

  1. Re-gift. If you have a friend who doesn’t have any skin issues and who you know likes a product or scent that you’ve been given, save the gift for his/her birthday or another celebratory occasion. You’ll feel good about passing on something you know will be a hit while making room in your bathroom for the things you can actually use.
  2. Donate. If you don’t like re-gifting presents or you don’t have anyone who you think could use the products you’ve been given, consider donating them to a women’s shelter. Many of these women had to leave unsafe conditions with little to no belongings. Unopened products are always in demand and appreciated. While there’s a chance a percentage of the women will have eczema or another condition that makes the product(s) unusable, there will be many other women there who can use them.
  3. Re-imagine. Have a kids’ project that requires a brightly colored liquid or something sparkly? Many beauty products can make beautiful fillers for arts and crafts projects. Think rivers, oceans, sparkly clouds, or unicorn hair. Your imagination is the limit!

While there may be instances in which you want to speak up to let people in your life know that you can’t use certain products and/or to redirect potential buyers to purchase the products that you can use, there will be just as many in which you’d rather smile and say “thank you.” Hopefully, this list gives you an idea (or two) of what to do with those lovely gifts in the days after.

What about you? Do you have any special ideas for products you can’t use? Share in the comments!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.