A couple of mornings ago I woke up to find both of my hands covered in eczema. The most upsetting part wasn’t the itch or the way it looked or even that I had to look for something to soothe it, it was the fact that I have successfully managed to keep it under control for a few years.
Most winters, it has been restricted to between my fingers, which I moisturize like crazy. Now, on account of a pre-existing condition, the dry winter air in Johannesburg, and taking Accutane, I can no longer keep my eczema at bay.
Through years of trial and error, recommendations, and research, I have come to the conclusion that nothing except oh-so-greasy Vaseline is soothing to the dry, sensitive skin.
I attribute this to the fact that almost all creams, even the ones that claim to be “dermatologist tested” and such, have fragrances and irritants in them. The ones that doctors prescribe tend to thin out your skin, and are mainly treating the symptoms (itchiness or flaking) rather than restoring moisture.
Because I have no known allergens, I know that my eczema is aggravated by dryness and/or stress, and this time, I’m pretty sure the Accutane is working against me in the dry skin department.
Luckily, my dermatologist recommended a hand cream for this very issue. Enter Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. This cream, which is similar to Vaseline in consistency, is a dream come true. It is one of the few cult products out there that I have been like, “Okay, I get it now” about.
Formulated for fishermen with crazy-dry and cracked skin (Because of the water? Are they more exposed to the elements than other professionals? Do they not take time out to visit The Body Shop? Discuss.), this hand cream contains up to 40 percent glycerin, which is, in comparison to other creams, a whole bunch. Because of this, you can literally use “just a dab” as the package instructs.
Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it attracts water (Glycerin + Water = BFF4E) and helps your skin retain moisture. The cream also contains emollients, which soothe and soften the skin and trap moisture in. It should come as no surprise that I’ve been using this cream for only two days and my hands look perfect again.
The best part is that you can also use the product on your knees, elbows, face, lips, etc. Vaseline who? (JK ILY Vaseline, don’t leave me). When I’ve used it on my lips, it’s a little bit sticky for my liking, but I have to admit that it did a good job of hydrating them without making them shiny (the formula dries quite matte), so I think I’ll be using this on my kid brother, who suffers from dry lips and doesn’t always appreciate my Vaseline-pushing ways.
I also love that this hand cream is fragrance free--as in, it literally smells like NOTHING at all. Although it is thick and rich, it doesn’t leave a gross, oily film on my hands, despite the fact that I opted for the classic and not the fast absorbing option.
Put simply, I think I've finally found "The One." It has been a long time coming, you guys.
Any other eczema sufferers out there? What do you use?