A skin routine – I have eczema, my skin cannot tolerate that!

When you have eczema, it sometimes seems like the skin routine advice on skin care doesn’t apply to your unique skin type. Eczema not only makes the skin more sensitive and prone to irritation, but it can also cause the reaction to commonly used skin care products to be completely different. This can lead to frustration and confusion about which products are safe and effective to use.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a skincare routine that works for your sensitive skin. It just takes a more thoughtful approach and some adjustments to ensure your skin gets the care it needs without causing further irritation.

Even for those with eczema or sensitive skin, the core of an effective care routine remains unchanged: cleansing, protecting, and improving. Finding the right balance and suitable cosmetic ingredients may be a challenge, but it is certainly not unattainable.

Eczema Skin Routine

The basis of any skin care routine, even for people with eczema, starts with a thorough but gentle cleansing. It is essential to use a cleanser specifically designed for sensitive skin or eczema, as these formulations are gentle and effectively remove dirt without stripping the skin’s natural oils or damaging the skin barrier. These products ensure that your skin stays clean without causing extra stress or irritation.

It is very important to avoid cleaners that contain harsh chemicals or alcohol. Such ingredients can further irritate sensitive skin and worsen inflammation. Instead, you should look for products that contain moisturizing ingredients, such as glycerin or aloe vera, which help soften and soothe the skin during the cleansing process.

Sun protection is a crucial aspect of skin care, regardless of skin type. For people with eczema, it is recommended to use sunscreens with mineral filters containing both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients are known for their mildness and are less likely to cause irritation than chemical sunscreens.

Mineral sunscreen with both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

Mineral sunscreens provide a physical barrier that helps reflect and disperse harmful UV rays, making them a safe choice for eczema-prone skin. Choosing a sunscreen that also contains moisturizing ingredients can provide additional benefits by keeping the skin hydrated and comfortable.

A 2022 study examined the relationship between atopic eczema and skin cancer risk. After analyzing 16 studies with a total of 9,638,093 participants, it turned out that people with eczema have a significantly higher risk of skin cancer, specifically basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. However, this risk did not apply to melanoma. The study concludes that there is a link between atopic eczema and an increased risk of some types of skin cancer.

More about skin cancer, what now

When choosing skin care products aimed at improving your skin condition, it is crucial to look for ingredients that have soothing and moisturizing properties. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, ectoine, Avena Sativa (oat extracts), Marshmallow root and niacinamide are particularly beneficial as they help restore the skin barrier and reduce redness and itching. These ingredients work by retaining moisture in the skin, strengthening the skin’s lipid layer and reducing inflammatory responses. To strengthen the skin, a peptide is suitable for people with sensitive skin.

More about Peptide

When selecting corrective products, it is also important to avoid products that contain harsh active ingredients that can potentially irritate or dry out the skin, such as retinoids or high concentrations of vitamin C in sensitive skin types.

A skin routine for people with eczema doesn’t have to be complicated. By focusing on gentle cleansing, sun protection, and the right corrective measures, you can develop an effective skin care routine that soothes, protects, and conditions your skin without causing irritation. It’s important to choose products specifically designed with sensitivity and eczema in mind, and to always be attentive to how your skin reacts so you can make any necessary adjustments.

If your skincare routine has already been adapted for sensitive or eczema-prone skin and you still don’t notice any improvement, you may be reacting to specific allergens in your cosmetics. Dermatologists often test for a range of common allergens that can be found in skin care products. Here are some of these substances you should check in the ingredients list of your products:

Skincare Routine
  1. Perfume: One of the most common allergens. Products marked as “unscented” may also contain hidden fragrances to mask the scent of other ingredients. However, not all perfume is an allergen. Dermatologists test perfume mixes and not individual fragrance ingredients. More about Perfume
  2. Preservatives: Ingredients such as parabens, methylisothiazolinone (MI), and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) can trigger allergic reactions. Learn more about Preservatives
  3. Lanolin: A natural fat derived from sheep’s wool that is used in many moisturizers and emollient creams, but can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  4. Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Used to extend the shelf life of cosmetics, these substances can cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
  5. Cocamidopropyl betaine: A surfactant found in shampoos and body cleansers that can trigger allergic reactions. Although cocamidopropyl betaine is valued for its cleansing properties and ability to produce foam, it is also known to cause allergic reactions in some people. These reactions can range from mild irritation to more serious skin reactions, such as contact dermatitis. The latter is a form of eczema that develops in response to direct contact with an irritating substance, in this case cocamidopropyl betaine.
  6. Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol: Used in many products as a moisturizer, but may cause irritation or allergies in some people.
  7. Nickel: Although more commonly associated with jewelry, trace amounts of nickel can also appear in makeup products and trigger an allergic reaction. Learn more about NIckel

If you suspect your skin is reacting to a specific ingredient, consider eliminating products that contain that ingredient to see if your skin condition improves. It may also be helpful to have a patch test with a dermatologist, who can help identify which specific substances you may be reacting to.

When you visit a dermatologist and ask for skin care tips, a common piece of advice is: “Use Vaseline.” Vaseline, or petrolatum, has been known for years for its ability to soothe dry and irritated skin. It places an occlusive layer over the skin that retains moisture and thus prevents dehydration. Due to its hypoallergenic properties and safety in its pure form, petroleum jelly is an important element in many care rituals. In this blog, click here, we explore the facets of skin care that extend beyond the simple use of Vaseline.

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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