Woman surrounded by menacing makeup products

All The Pretty Things: Going, Going, Gone

Thanks to eczema, my skin has become so delicate. It rebels against anything – many skincare products or the “wrong” type of clothing or jewelry materials. I have found that all the pretty things I used to enjoy are going, going, gone.

Wearing minimal makeup

I used to buy any kind of makeup without a second thought. This was pre-eczema, and even during some of the years with eczema, my skin was less reactive. The people at Sephora recognized me. If I liked it, I bought it, and never thought twice about using it. I still subscribe to several monthly beauty boxes, even though I’ll never use most of the products. (My daughters enjoy experimenting with makeup too!) Now, I have to worry if my skin will react to makeup, and I can’t just get a whole haul of new beauty products and try them. I have to try 1 thing at a time to see if my skin reacts. If I try 4 new products at once and my skin reacts, I won’t be able to identify the “culprit.” Or on the other hand, I could be using something for years, and suddenly it will irritate my skin. The quarantine gave me months of not having to worry about makeup. Even at work with a mask, I would just use a little foundation and eyebrow pencil, and the mask hid everything else! Still, most days, I continue not to wear makeup unless I see people at work or socially. And I usually keep it minimal so as not to aggravate my skin. When I do wear more makeup, I feel so much better about myself, but I have to worry about my skin reacting.

Avoiding jewelry

Growing up, my mom always made sure any earrings I had were 100% 14 karat gold. I was always so disappointed when I couldn’t wear the trendy earrings from Claire’s! Over the years, my eczema has gone through better and worse phases. A few years ago, a local mom was selling jewelry, and all my friends were having those jewelry parties. I don’t even want to think how much I’ve spent on bracelets and necklaces! At the time, my skin was not so bad, and I wore all the pretty things I purchased. Now, almost any jewelry that touches my skin makes me crazy after a few minutes, so all the pretty things sit untouched. Even my 14 karat gold earrings are sadly in a drawer – despite never bothering me before, my earlobes start to itch like crazy when I wear earrings, so for now, I’ve sadly retired them all. It took a very long time not to feel naked without them. Those earrings were the last bit of jewelry I could tolerate.

Wearing cotton clothing

We all know that with eczema, the best clothing is loose-fitting cotton clothing. We hear it again and again. In my less reactive eczema times, say I was going out to a nice dinner. I would wear something like jean leggings, a nice sweater, and boots (and of course jewelry and makeup). Now, there’s minimal (if any) jewelry and makeup. The thought of a sweater makes my skin itch. Now, I usually wear black cotton leggings, a top that won’t make me itch, and whatever makeup I feel I can handle that day. If I feel EXTRA brave, maybe I'll slip on one of those trendy bracelets (but it usually ends up in my purse during the evening, too itchy to keep on).

Eczema has taken all of the pretty things

I enjoyed the times – that were few and far between – when I could wear any makeup, jewelry, and clothing I wanted. Sure, I might have been a little itchy, but it was bearable. A little steroid cream and/or an antihistamine cleared it right up. As I sit here typing, not a speck of jewelry or makeup, and in cotton clothing, I feel sad that all the pretty things have gone away. And yet I still itch, all the time. Have you given up any of your favorite things for eczema? Has it helped?

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