A pharmacist is smiling and holding up a product.

I Love My Pharmacist

Have any of you seen the commercials, "I love my lawyer?"? Well, I love my pharmacist.

This had been a difficult summer with my allergies. It seemed to begin in March, as the early pollen season began. But as the season and the heat progressed, the eczema on my face continued to impact my daily life. If it wasn’t red, blotchy, sore and itchy, it was dry, flaky, and peeling. Waking up every morning thinking the slightest facial movement would cause the skin to crack became the new normal.

Cortisone cream for eczema

I tried every OTC and prescription antihistamine available, even getting a prescription for a stronger cortisone cream. One that had the disclaimer "not for use on the face unless instructed by your doctor." And only used for a maximum of 14 days. But the eczema only cleared up slightly while using it. Whenever I stopped, the eczema and dryness came back.

Talking to the pharmacist

In desperation, I went to my local drugstore and stopped by the pharmacist’s counter. Armed with the new contact irritant information from my recent allergist visit, I asked the pharmacist to help me choose something, anything to combat the itchy dryness.

Asking the right questions

As luck would have it, I asked the right person the right question. He immediately questioned me on how often I washed my face, did I use soap, what did I use on it, etc. He was more informative than my family doctor, explaining that the OTC moisturizers were made for those lucky people who didn’t have my severely dry skin. As we walked down the aisle full of creams, he talked about the skin cycle. Not the itch-scratch cycle, but the 28-day cycle of cell production and replacement.

The skin cycle

Skin consists of the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The epidermis is the thin outer layer of the skin. This layer mainly consists of dead cells that are always flaking or washing off. These are then replaced by new cells manufactured in the lower portion of the epidermis, which move upward to the outside of the skin. As they do, the cells die. This cycle of cell production and replacement slows as we age. It takes about 28 days for the average, middle-aged adult but can take twice as long or even more by the time we become seniors.

Suggesting ceramides for eczema

He thought I would benefit from ceramides, which are waxy lipid molecules, and suggested I try CeraVe Moisturizing Cream as the first step. His instructions were to use it twice a day for two skin cycles, as that’s the minimum needed to give something time to work.

Lipid-replenishing alternative

We then went to the cosmetics department and discussed another product he thought might help if the CeraVe wasn’t my best solution. La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ is a cosmeceutical; a cosmetic with medicinal qualities, but not considered a pharmaceutical. It says it spaces out flare-ups of severe dryness. An anti-itching, lipid-replenishing soothing balm.

Giving CeraVe a fair run

I’m anxious to try it, but I want to give the CeraVe another couple of weeks for a fair trial. It’s been just over eight weeks so far and it seems to be helping as my face is a lot better than it was, but not where it should be yet. I’ll then try the La Roche Posay for two skin cycles to see if it does anything. Stay tuned.

To read Cora Lyn's review of the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+, click here.

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