How I Cured My Eczema Naturally Part 3 | How I rebalanced My Skin Microbiome | My Natural Skin Care Routine That Helped to Cure My Atopic Dermatitis
My Natural Skincare Routine
Changing and simplifying my skincare routine one year ago has changed my entire life. For the first time in my life my skin is glowing, I feel beautiful, and my eyelids are not swollen and scaly! 🙌🏼 Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this eczema blog series for before pictures, with my face covered in eczema. Thats also in the last part of this blog. 😆 I don’t have eczema at all now, and I haven’t going on 8 months. It’s such a wonderful feeling, and I’m sharing my story in the hopes you can feel just as wonderful one day! It’s important to read part 1 and part 2 of my eczema blog series because for me, healing my eczema was a whole body approach. The right skincare routine was, of course, vital. However, making sure the inside of my body was in tip top shape was more important. Gut health was just as important as skincare in my eczema healing journey.
Back to that word simplifying though…. Simplifying my skin care routine. The less I put on my skin the better my skin healed. When trying to figure out how to make my eczema go away, I always wanted to try new things. I kept adding, and adding more and more things that were supposed to help my skin heal… but turns out that I was making everything worse. When I simplified, not only the amount of things I put on my skin, but also the ingredients, everything changed.
I figured that the best way to talk about how I care for my skin, would be to walk you through my morning, afternoon and nighttime routines. Then I’ll tell you about the products I use on my skin, and the specific things I did while healing from steroid cream withdrawal. Lastly I’ll cover what I absolutely will not use on my skin. I’m going to be a specific as possible to avoid any unanswered questions.
You may notice that I talk about Toups and Co. Organics a lot in this post. I’m not sponsored and neither is this post. I just finally found a skincare line that doesn’t mess up my skin. I’ve tried countless skin care products during my 10+ years of eczema, and I finally found something that works for me.
A Note About the Pictures:
In this blog, I’ve included some up close pictures of myself. These photos are minimally edited, just with some brightness adjustment. I chose to not edit/smooth my skin at all in these photos so that you can get a clear picture of how far I’ve come in my journey with healing my own eczema.
At fist I was scared to put the balm on my whole face, because of my oily forehead skin. Well, turns out that moisturized skin is the best way to handle oily skin! Ever since I started doing this, my skin is significantly less oily, and I only have a pimple or two every now and then (usually around when I ovulate for some reason 🤷🏼♀️).
Important Note: In the mornings five days a week I workout… and I sweat…a lot. This has also significantly improved my skin. Sweating is a natural process our bodies are meant to do. Along with thermoregulation, eccrine sweat is VITAL for skin barrier health. Sweating can even help to balance out the skin microbiome and help boost skin barrier integrity. (Here’s two links to some science on that 1. 2.) Sometimes I choose to not wash up after working out, because my skin feels so good. I just try to listen to what my body is telling me, and I roll with it.
I don’t do much to my skin in the afternoon. Some days I like to do a mid-day splash of cool water and re-apply tallow balm. I especially like to do this in the winter, when the weather can dry out your skin.
I always make sure that I’ve been drinking enough water by mid-afternoon. I usually drink two-three liters of water by 3:00 pm. A hydrated body = hydrated skin!
I also try to be in the sun for at least 15 minutes a day. This can be complicated, because it rains a lot in Louisiana and I’m a busy gal with lots to do everyday. If I'm being realistic I only accomplish 15 minutes of sun about 3-4 times a week.
I shower almost every night, but I do not wash my entire body with soap every night, and I do not wash my hair every night. I wash my hair about once or twice a week. I shave my legs, armpits and bikini line with a regular plain razor every Sunday.
Most nights: I put my hair in a bun, turn on the steamy shower and hop in! I wash my face with just water and my soft bamboo exfoliating brush. No soap. Then I wash my whole body with just water and a wash cloth. Last, I wash all the possibly stinky body parts (butt, groin, armpits) with Chagrin Valley Adzuki Bean Soap and a wash cloth.
Every night AS SOON AS I get out of the shower I put Toups and Co. tallow balm on my face immediately. The immediately part is super important. When your skin is fresh out of a warm shower, it’s easier to absorb moisturizer. After I take care of my face, I put Pure Life Soap Co. Vanilla Coconut lotion on the rest of my body.
How I rebalanced My Skin Microbiome:
The decision to throw away all of my steroid cream and go through steroid withdrawal was a rough one, but the best decision I ever made for my skin. (note: this is the story of MY personal journey with eczema. I am NOT recommending this. I am not a doctor. Consult a doctor before making any changes to your skincare routine 😉)
The following are practices I incorporated into my skincare routine during steroid cream withdrawal. These techniques helped my skin and skin microbiome to fully heal. You’ll notice that I talk a lot about washing my face with only warm water. This is an important point. Early on in steroid withdrawal, I determined that it must be necessary for my skin microbiome to heal too.
Bamboo Exfoliating Brush
One word: NECESSARY.
During steroid cream withdrawal my skin peeled and flaked like crazy. I felt like I needed to remove the dead skin, so I washed my face every morning and night with only warm water and a soft bamboo exfoliating brush. My bamboo brush is pictured below; it’s VERY used haha!
I also have another very, very soft bamboo brush. I used the softer brush to dry brush the dead skin off my face before doing a facial steam (see below for more on facial steams).
MUST HAVE ALWAYS. I refuse to be without Toups and Co. Organics Tallow Balm. It’s basically magic for me. During steroid cream withdrawal I put this tallow balm on my face immediately after exfoliating with warm water and the bamboo brush.
Chagrin Valley Soap
This is the only brand of soap I use. I specifically picked their adzuki bean soap because I see the world through a filter of my passion: microbes. Turns out that lots of healthy skin microbes thrive when exposed to healthy food sources like beans. So I picked Adzuki bean soap. It works for me, so I guess I picked right. Not a lot of science here, just a little microbiome intuition. 🤓🔬
I used soap in extreme moderation while trying to heal my skin. If I felt super greasy and gross and wanted to bathe with soap, I went for it. I just wanted to limit the use of soap to allow my skin microbiome to balance and flourish post steroid cream.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
This one might sound a bit weird, but it was just some more microbiome intuition. While going through withdrawal and trying to balance out/ recolonize my skin microbiome, I sprayed a dilute apple cider vinegar mixture on my body.
I made it with 1 ounce raw ACV with the mother, 3 ounces freshly brewed green tea and 5 drops of red thyme essential oil. I mostly liked to spray it on my armpits because the eczema there was HORRIBLE. (I quit antiperspirant deodorant at the same time I quit steroid cream).
By the way: I use essential oils form a place called PipingRock and I love them. These are my favorites:
I LOVE FACIAL STEAMS. Facial steams were my favorite when going through withdrawal. They’re such a great way to open up your pores and sweat (remember how I said sweat is good for your skin barrier health?). To facial steam you need: A large bowl, water, green tea, a towel.
Here’s how to facial steam:
Boil some water (I use filtered water).
Place the bowl somewhere where you can get comfortable with your face over the bowl. I like to sit at my dining table when doing this.
Add in the boiling water.
At a safe distance from steam, hold your face over the bowl and place a towel over your head to cover yourself and the bowl… basically creating a mini sauna.
Stay in the little towel/bowl mini steam room for 10 minutes.
Dab face with towel and immediately apply moisturizer (for me, that’s tallow balm).
I love a good face mask. I didn’t apply face masks too often, but it did help with detoxing my skin and removing some dead skin. I like to use this Moroccan Clay with a bit of rose water for a face mask.
I know, I know, this sounds strange… but I don’t mean rubbing potting soil all over your face or rolling in the mud like a pig… or do I? 🤨😂 I like to expose myself and my skin microbiome to the wonderful, powerful soil microbiome in four indirect ways:
Playing with the dog and going to the dog park
The farmers market and market vegetables.
Fermented vegetables, obviously.
What about Makeup?
During steroid withdrawal: Absolutely not. Just rough it. You may feel like you look like a molting lizard out in the world, but in the long run it won’t even matter.
Now: Only sometimes! I wear mascara and some eyebrow pencil everyday, but that’s about it. Sometimes when I have a big speaking event or pictures I wear a mineral foundation, all from Toups and Co. Organics!
What about Shampoo?
Your scalp is skin too! I use andalou naturals shampoo and I get it from Whole Foods. I’ve also used some tea tree shampoo from Trader Joe’s and I really like it.
I do use a special conditioner and a purple hair mask once a month to keep my hair cool blonde, but I’m careful not to let it touch my face. I get my hair highlighted and toned every now and then too, and it doesn’t bother me.
To put it plainly: HELL NAH. 🙅🏼♀️ First off, perfume gives me the WORST possible headaches. Most perfume has… well who knows what the heck is in most of that stuff. I use essential oils. I like to put some lavender essential oil in a little spray bottle with witch hazel and use that as perfume. I do about 1oz witch hazel with 5 drops of essential oil. 👍🏼
What I absolutely do not put on my skin
Anti-perspirant deodorant: A HUGE NO for me. Remember what I said about sweat in the morning routine portion of this blog? One of my WORST eczema patches stretched from my armpit down to my elbow. When I switched to natural deodorant (I use baking soda free primal pit paste) and let myself sweat, it went away! It took months and many stinky days, but it’s gone!
Steroid cream. I threw it out almost a year ago, and it was the best decision I could have made. I had to go through steroid cream withdrawal and that was awful. You can read more about that in part one of this eczema blog series.
I do not use anything that is not listed above. I don’t dabble in trying new things on my skin anymore. It’s just not worth it because I already found what works for me.
Before and After
The after picture is representative of my skin after all of the following occurred: healing my gut with fermented vegetables, changing my eating habits & water drinking habits, implementing this new skin care routine, and exercising regularly. Part four, the last part of this eczema blog series will cover my exercise habits and routines.