I never used to have issues with eczema until I gave birth to my first child, and it wasn't until then that I knew what eczema was to make my skin itch like crazy! It started off with just a few patches on the insides of my thigh, and I already couldn't stand the itching - it disrupted my sleep and it was so embarrassing when I had to itch in public! I went to see a doctor, and he prescribed me with medications containing steroid to take orally and to apply to the itchy patch. I recovered in no time, but soon again, the patches came back, this time taking up a larger area of my skin and also in other places over my body. I realised that it was nearly impossible to get rid of them completely as it was the rainy season in HK, and every time it rained, the eczema would appear again, and things became even worse when there was a rainstorm. I also tried taking Chinese medicine, but the effects were too slow.
In the meantime, I tried a few things to help relieve the itchiness...
1) Taking a teaspoon of flaxseed oil every morning
The oil tasted pretty disgusting, some describe it as "like rotten fish with a bitter aftertaste", and I would completely concur with it. The longer you keep the oil for, the more bitter the taste. Despite saying this, I did manage to finish the entire bottle of 250mL.
2) Taking flaxseed powder with my oatmeal every morning
As I don't have a grinder at home, I bought the flaxseed powder, and I added it into my oatmeal. I also tried adding it into rice, but it was too dry to swallow. The powder on the other hand, does not have much of a taste.
I didn't find flaxseed to be too effective in helping with eczema, but the flaxseed did help with constipation. Since the flaxseed oil didn't taste very nice, I abandoned flaxseed out of my diet completely.
There are many different products on the market that claim they are suitable for sensitive skin or for eczema. I even tried products the Johnson's Baby Bath for sensitive skin, but it was still too dry on my skin, and when I read the ingredients, I was surprised to see "alcohol" contained in my baby bath!!
So, here are some of the products that I have tried (I don't have the bottle for some of the products I used anymore as they have been thrown away):
1) PHYSIOGEL Shower Cream with DMS
Physiogel Shower Cream with DMS is a mild, hypoallergenic shower cream specially formulated for the gentle, daily cleansing of dry and sensitive skin.
Specially formulated with mild and gentle ingredients for sensitive skin in mind, the unique DMS (Derma Membrane Structure) lipids hydrate the skin even during cleansing, replenishing your skin with essential moisture. It contains no colourants, perfume and preservatives.
This is the one product that I must recommend if you are suffering from eczema, dry, itchy or sensitive skin!!! The shower cream itself is not very thick, with no scent, and creates foam when added with water. This did not irritate the eczema on my skin, and it also helped relieve the itchiness. The downside is that it finishes quite quickly as the 150mL tube is the only size available, and it is quite a pricey shower cream to use daily.
Around HK$100 for 150mL
I would definitely repurchase again despite the expensive price tag!
2) DERMAVEEN Everyday Soap Free Wash pH5.5
A unique formulation with natural colloidal oatmeal to soothe, protect and hydrate skin - pH balanced - Won't clog pores - Ideal for all over body use - Ideal for infants, children and adults - No lanolin, parabens, dyes or fragrances
It is suitable for skin prone to dermatitis/eczema, nappy rash, rashes, environmental insults and minor burns.
The Wash is slightly thicker than the Physiogel Shower Cream with DMS, with an oatmeal smell (it reminded me of the smell of almond drink), and creates foam when added with water. This product didn't irritate the eczema on my skin, and it is quite moisturising for the skin, but it didn't help to relieve the itchiness. The upside is that this product comes in two sizes - 500mL and 1L, and has a pump dispenser. It has an oatmeal smell that I'm okay with, but not everyone may like it. I used to use this on the rest of my body, whilst using the Physiogel Shower Cream on the areas which have eczema, and it helped prevent further patches of eczema on my skin. If you want moisturised skin, this product is for you, but if you want to help relieve the itchiness of your skin, then Physiogel would be the better option, but I use them both together as the Physiogel is really quite expensive to use for the whole body daily.
Around HK$150 for 1L
I would repurchase again to use as a daily body wash for sensitive skin or dry skin.
3) QV Gentle Wash
This gentle wash is a soap-free cleanser for cleansing dry and sensitive skin. It is pH balanced, low-irritant formulation, free from fragrance, colour, lanolin, and propylene glycol. It is suitable for sensitive skin types, including infants and the elderly. It is also suitable for sun-damaged skin and conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. It comes in three sizes: 250mL flip-top bottle, 500mL pump pack, 1L pump pack
I purchased one bottle after my friend recommended it to me, but I didn't like it. To me, it was just like using any other shower gel on the supermarket shelf. The texture of the Gentle Wash was quite like the Physiogel Shower Cream, not very thick, has no scent, and creates foam when added with water. It wasn't very moisturising, and it did not help relieve the itchiness from the eczema. It may be suitable for sensitive skin, but definitely not for eczema!
I will not repurchase even as a daily wash.
4) JOHNSON'S Baby Bath for Sensitive Skin
I purchased one bottle from the supermarket after my friend recommended it to me, but I didn't like it. It was a blue shower gel, with a fragrant, and creates foam when added with water. Perhaps I got the wrong perception that products made for babies would be very gentle on the skin and would not dry out the skin, but this was definitely not the case with Johnson's baby bath products. The Baby Bath was too dry for my skin, and led to more itching. I stopped using it as a shower gel, instead used it as a hand wash to finish up the product. I was also surprised to find that it contained sulfates, alcohol, and fragrance inside!
I will not repurchase again. My son uses another brand of baby products which are free of sulfates, parabens or synthetic preservatives, phthalates or BPA, is vegan and pediatrician confirmed, and is formulated for sensitive skin.
If you have eczema on your face...
5) PHYSIOGEL Cleanser
This Cleanser is very mild, has no scent, and it is not foamy even when mixed with water. My face did not feel tight after cleansing with this product, and it cleanses okay. It comes in two sizes - 150mL and 300mL.
Around HK$80 for 150mL, around HK$130 for 300mL
I would definitely repurchase if I had any problems with my skin, but luckily I seldom get eczema or even acne on my face!
6) CETAPHIL Gentle Skin Cleanser
This cleanser was too mild and did not clean very well, and I knew that because when I wiped my face with toner, the cotton pad ended up very dirty. There is no scent to this cleanser, and there is no foam even when mixed with water. I found that it was also too dry for my face as my face felt tight after cleansing with it.
I would not repurchase, although hubby likes using it, probably because he has normal/oily skin and it is okay for him, but when I wipe his face with toner, the cotton pad usually turns brown. This product is usually popular amongst those with acne prone skin.
As for things to apply to itchy skin...
7) VIRGIN COCONUT OIL (any brand)
During the warmer days, the coconut oil is in a liquid form, but in cooler weather, the oil solidifies. For hygiene reasons, I use a spoon to scoop out the oil onto my palms for application. In cooler weather, scoop out the solidified oil and place into your palms. As you rub it into your skin, the oil will melt and become "oil" again.
Virgin Coconut Oil works GREAT with itchy, sensitive, and dry skin, as well as eczema or insect bites etc. It's so natural that anyone could apply it, and I have found that it really does help relieve itchy skin! I have two jars - one for eating, and the other for applying onto my skin. When the weather is really dry, I apply it all over my body like a body lotion. It smells so yummy too! It takes a few minutes for the oil to absorb into your skin completely, but it doesn't feel too oily or greasy on the skin, but if you really don't like that feeling, you can apply it at night and sleep in it.
I have seen virgin coconut oil come in jars as well as bottles, but I would definitely recommend jars, as coconut oil tends to solidify when it's cold, and will only look like oil in its liquid form when the weather is warmer, so if you have a bottle of it, it would be quite troublesome for you to take the coconut oil out in cooler temperatures.
If you do some research on coconut oil, they say you can do heaps of things with coconut oil too, as coconut oil has antibacterial properties and a whole bunch of other benefits too!
I would definitely repurchase, but one jar goes a long way already!
This is an over-the-counter medicated cream aimed primarily at the treatment of nappy rash, but it can also be used to treat eczema, bedsores, acne, minor burns and sores, and minor wounds. Sudocrem contains a water-repellent base (consisting of oils/waxes); protective and emollient agents; antibacterial and antifungal agents; and a weak anesthetic.
It is a very thick cream/ointment that smells like lavender. I find that it helps relieve itchiness at times. I've also tried applying it to acne, and that works also.
HK$68 for 125g
I would definitely repurchase, but as you can see from the photo, I haven't even used 1/4 of it yet!
9) PHYSIOGEL AI Cream
The AI Cream helps protect skin from free radicals, regenerates skin's protective barrier, helps relieve redness in dry, sensitive skin, and it is non-comedogenic.
This is another cream that has antibacterial properties and can be applied to help relieve itchiness, although it did not always work for me.
HK$130 for 50mL
I would not purchase again as it is quite expensive and was not really effective.
10) ORONINE H OINTMENT
This ointment is suitable for acne, eruptions, minor burns, chapped skin, chilblains, minor cuts, dry athlete's foot ringworm.
I have been using this ointment since a child. I use it on itchy skin and it works wonders. Although it says on the website that the ointment should not be applied to eczema, but I have tried it and it helps relieve the itchiness for me.
I would repurchase as it's so multifunctional and useful, but I've had this for a few years and I still haven't needed to repurchase yet.
11) SEBAMED Body Milk for Sensitive Dry Skin
This Body Milk is highly moisturising and nourishing. The cream has a fresh and lightweight texture which glides smoothly on your skin, pampering each and every inch of your skin. Your skin can be renewed, refined, resilient and radiant upon using it.
The Body Milk is very lightweight and non-greasy, thought it does have quite a strong fragrant smell. Since it is very lightweight, it is not moisturising enough if you have really dry skin. I realised that it did help to relieve itchiness in dry skin, but not eczema related itchy skin. It also helped relieve itchiness on some insect bites too. Hubby used to use it as a moisturiser for his face, before I interfered and started using proper skincare products on his face.
Around HK$80.00 for 200mL
I would repurchase as it's not expensive, and I apply it when I'm too lazy for other things.
12) LA ROCHE-POSAY Lipikar Balm AP
The lipid-replenishing moisturiser is used to replenish and soothe severely dry and itchy skin, with a 24-hour anti-scratching efficacy. It claims to provide long-lasting relief with only one application per day.
I received a sample of the Lipikar Balm AP as well as the Lipikar Syndet (shower cream-gel) when purchasing other skincare products from Vichy.
Lipikar Balm AP (moisturiser): It was more of a cream rather than a lotion, leaving a slightly sticky residue. I didn't like the texture nor the feeling it left on my skin afterwards. The balm has no scent, and it didn't help relieve the itchiness as claimed.
Lipikar Syndet (shower cream-gel): It was very mild, with no scent, and created some foam when added with water. It did not relieve the itchiness as claimed.
I would not repurchase as they didn't help relieve the itchiness, and they are also quite expensive products to buy. I recall they are even more expensive than my Physiogel products, so it's a big NO.
13) CETAPHIL MOISTURISING LOTION
This lotion has a non-greasy formulation that is mild, non-irritating and long lasting. It contains emollients and humectants that bind moisture to the skin. This fragrance-free moisturiser contains no lanolins or parabens.
The texture is quite light, though not as light as the SebaMed Body Milk, and with a very chemical smell that I personally find disturbing. It does not absorb into the skin as quickly as the SebaMed Body Milk, and does not help relieve itchy skin. It may be a good moisturiser, but I really do not like the smell, which is why the bottle is sitting there, unused.
I would not repurchase.
Despite the expensive price tag to the Physiogel Shower Cream, I still use it daily, and it's the only shower cream that I can use now, since I have very sensitive skin due to pregnancy - hubby's Dettol shower gel makes my skin itchy, and my Palmer's shea butter shower gel causes breakouts on my back and chest. I only just found the bottle of DermaVeen in my room, and will probably try that again. I've also read online that some people use almond oil to help relieve itchiness too, but I haven't had the chance to try it yet.
Thank you for reading this far, and if you did, you're going to be a lucky person, because...
.....DID YOU EXPECT THERE TO BE A "CURE" FOR ECZEMA?
This is something I read in a Chinese magazine a while ago, and so I decided to try it, and it worked for me! I also posted it on my Facebook before - it's a really easy way, but you really need to follow it everyday!
THE RAISIN DRINK
All you need...
Place 15-20 raisins into a cup and add hot water.
After 20-30 minutes, mix with a spoon, and drink the water & eat the raisins. You will see a layer of "oil" floating on the water and it's normal. The water will taste a little sweet.
Drink this every morning and evening, for 2 weeks.
You can increase the amount of raisins over time, but start with around 15 raisins first. The maximum number of raisins you can use is 30 raisins.
I also tried this with green raisins, but they didn't seem to be as effective as the traditional brown raisins, and the drink didn't have much taste.
If you are feeding this to babies, you need to mash up the raisins first before feeding. You can also boil the raisins in hot water to make the raisins softer too, and it will have the same effect.
During the first few days of taking this drink, your eczema will suddenly "pop out" and may even worsen, but don't worry as this is completely normal - these new patches will go away after a few days! It is very important to continue taking the drink even though the eczema "worsens" during that time. I suggest that you only try this drink when you won't be seeing many people, as you don't know how bad it will get.
I don't know the science behind all of this, but I did try it, and it seemed to have helped my eczema; I ate duck meat and mangoes, both considered to be very "poisonous" in Chinese Medicinal terms, and normally, those itchy red patches would appear nearly instantly that night, but after taking the raisin drink, I had no issues with eczema since then.
I don't know if it's just a temporary cure or a permanent one, but since it's so easy to make, I intend to take this drink before the rainy season to prevent any serious eczema situations from happening again. If you're really out of options, you may want to try it too - there's no harm in trying! :)
In addition, just snacking on raisins is beneficial too!
I hope these suggestions will help you in finding the right products for you, and feel free to suggest any other products that you've used and found useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!
Have a nice day everyone, and let's all have an itch-free life!