Author: Chloe

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What I’m Grateful for in 2018

For Christmas, Barry got me The 6-Minute Diary which is a bit like a bullet journal that lets you practice gratitude and improve your own happiness day-by-day.

Therefore, I have decided to look back on this year at the things I have been most grateful for. It has been a wonderful year overall. I have a lot of fond memories to look back on.

The Six-Minute Diary

For Travelling

I started 2018 with a weekend trip to Berlin with my friend Charlotte. It was the first time I had visited Germany and Berlin was an eye-opener with plenty to see and learn from. We spent our weekend staying over in Alexanderplatz and visited many sites including the Berlin Wall Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate.

It was cold in early January but we wrapped up warm and kept ourselves busy with sightseeing. We tried the local cuisine such as curry wurst and sauerkraut. At the same restaurant I accidentally ordered a beer the size of my head. Of course, I finished this.

East Side Gallery

And then, 6 months later I went on holiday again with some more lovely friends. This time to Treignac in France with Kristie, Jane and their dog Wilson. It’s was a good year for travelling and I anticipate 2019 to be just as exciting.

For Starting This Blog

It’s been a couple of months since I started this blog and I have been able to put my thoughts into words and am grateful to have found freedom in doing this.

I hope to continue this habit into 2019. I’m also appreciative of all of the blogs I have found since signing up to WordPress. There are many talented bloggers out there who continue to inspire me.

For Family and Friends

I met Barry at the beginning of 2018 and into 2019 we are living together in our cosy flat. We’re very happy.

It’s been a very busy year for all of us. Barry and I moved in together, my parents moved house and then my sister and her boyfriend bought their first home. The new year has started and we have barely finished unpacking.

Despite how busy we all are I know that they are there for me and I have a lot of good friends I’m grateful for too who can clearly put up with me enough to go on holiday together.

For Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes all it takes is a genuine smile from someone unexpected such as a customer or passer-by. I received a handwritten letter from a customer sharing what she has found helpful for dermatitis. I didn’t expect it and it was so thoughtful. It made me happy that someone would take the time to do this for me.

How I Cope With Eczema at Night

Like a lot of people who have eczema, I find that it gets worse at night. Right before bed. Just before I wanted to relax and go to sleep. I have read that this is due to a lowered temperature and circadian rhythms. I have found a few ways to prevent (or at least reduce) scratching to allow skin to heal.

Apply Cream or Ointment Before Bed

It’s an obvious one but this is about forming habits. Keep all of your skin moisturised by applying it at set times of day such as when you wake up and before you go to bed. It is also very cooling on dry and itchy skin.

Wear Soft Clothing Which Covers Eczema

Materials such as cotton and silk are recommended for eczema. I find polyester is fine and feels soft too despite it not being recommended for eczema. This is because it can be too warm so don’t overheat. I wear longer sleeves and trousers to prevent myself from scratching, it’s like a barrier!

Take an Antihistamine

Over the counter and used to treat allergies and can reduce itchiness and hives.

Put a Dehumidifier in Your Bedroom

Humidity should be kept below 50% and will reduce dust mites. I have put one in my bedroom and it also stops condensation as an added bonus.

Wash Bedding in a Suitable Washing Powder

Don’t choose an irritant for a washing powder, like I mentioned in my previous post about Laundry Detergent.

I have also found and ordered an Ecoegg washing ball (fragrance free) which should save money on washing powder too.

Wear Cotton Gloves

Put cream or ointment on first and then put these gloves on. It will stop you from involuntarily scratching. It will also help lock in moisture. Make sure they’re made of cotton and fit you comfortably. They might fall off whilst you’re sleeping but that can’t be helped.

Distract Yourself

As best as you can. Watch a film or show you’re genuinely into and make a hot chocolate. Let yourself relax because if anyone deserves to it’s you. Eczema and itchiness can lead to no or little sleep. You are probably worried about your eczema and not getting enough sleep so it can be a vicious cycle.

Even good company and conversation can take your mind off of it, so spend time with your family and friends.

My Favourite Uses for Coconut Oil

I have used coconut oil on my skin in the past and am currently using Lucy Bee. It’s primarily advertised for consumption but you can use it on your hair and skin as well. Most coconut oil manufacturers will list its uses. Have a look on their website or on the packaging if you’re unsure. Most will list it’s usefulness as a beauty product.

Here are three great uses for coconut oil I have discovered:

Add it to Your Bath

This can be soothing for skin and will not harm people with sensitive skin or flare-ups of eczema. I add around one or two teaspoons to my bath. You can add more as long as you’re aware the bathtub will become very slippery.

I don’t use coconut oil as a sole moisturiser because it is absorbed too quickly and doesn’t quite cut it with my skin. I love using it in the bath and following this up with a heavier moisturiser or emollient.

Condition the Ends of Your Hair

I mentioned this in my previous post coconut oil can be used as a replacement for hair products such as leave-in conditioner. Don’t use too much! Start with a small amount and apply it after your hair is dry. I have tried using it on wet and dry hair and it’s easier to use on dry hair because you can get the quantity right.

This can be a great natural alternative to hair products which can cause flare-ups. It also smells really good.

To Remove Make-Up

This is my favourite use for coconut oil and I was surprised by how effective it was the first time I used it. When I wear mascara this is the absolute best thing to remove it. I’d go as far to say it’s even better than a lot of eye make-up removers made specially for the job.

It’s so soft and doesn’t cause redness or dryness like cleansers can do. Coconut oil is comedogenic, so be aware if you’re skin is sensitive to breaking out.

Why Is It Good for Eczema?

Coconut oil contains lauric acid, making up half of the fat in coconut oil. People with eczema benefit from it because coconut oil can reduce inflammation and is antibacterial, antifungal and is an antioxidant. All of as well as hydrating the skin.

Coconut oil can be found in most supermarkets, pharmacies or online. I have found a 125ml tub from Superdrug at an affordable price of £2.49.

Coconut oil will often come in a solid format but will melt quickly when applied to the body. It is best applied before bed because it can make your clothes oily.

Control Bath and Shower Oil

This week I have published my first product review of a brand I have discovered, Eucerin. It is their Control Bath and Shower Oil.

Duckie

This bottle from Eucerin was on the shelf in Boots. It wasn’t the cheapest product on sale at £14.99 for 400ml (on sale for £11.19 at Superdrug and Amazon) but it was something I had not tried before and I liked that it was oil-based.

Eucerin describe it on their website as:

‘soap-free and enriched with a high concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Oils to gently cleanse and soothe skin with Atopic Dermatitis’

It specifically mentions usage during and between flare-ups. Perfect.

I was pleasantly surprised with this product. It is fragrance-free as you would expect and the product has an oily consistently without being greasy.

When I first rubbed this product between my hands it transformed into a white foam but reassuringly not too ‘lathery’. This meant it was easy to apply, went further and felt more like a traditional body wash without the itch.

I have also used this in the bath and it does have bubbles but nothing that would alarm you i.e. an irritant.

It’s smooth and cleansing without drying out the skin. It’s not the most attractive product and it isn’t cheap but it is good for sensitive skin and for when someone is experiencing an eczema flare-up.

Duckland

I’m very excited to be going on holiday to Norway, Sweden and Denmark in January with Barry. However, whilst planning our itinerary we got sidetracked. It just so happens that if you invert the world map (our exhilarating Monday nights in) the Americas looks like a duck.

Duckland

Haircare for Sensitive Skin

Paying attention to your haircare routine could help your skin. If you have hair that’s long enough to reach your shoulders or back then the chemicals you’re using have contact with your skin. Not to mention those who suffer from sensitive skin or eczema on their face and scalp.

It can be incredibly frustrating maintaining smooth hair if the products you’re using cause flare-ups.

Therefore, I have listed some basic haircare tips that leave skin happier and won’t cost the Earth:

Stop Washing It So Much

Leave it alone. It doesn’t like it. It is probably in your hair’s best interest that you wash it as little as possible, for example every 2-3 days but definitely not every day.

Over washing can become a vicious cycle because your scalp will overcompensate by producing excess natural oils. This led to an oily scalp but dryer ends. Let the natural oils run their course. You could invest in a good dry shampoo to help with this process or use talcum powder as I have done.

Switch Up Your Shampoo

You’ve probably heard about SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) and how it isn’t a good thing. It is listed on the back of most shampoo bottles and it’s actually quite hard to find products that don’t have it.

Be warned, some products don’t have it listed as SLS but under other aliases such as sodium coco sulphate. The chemical formula may be slightly different but it’s essentially the same thing.

The bottom line is, don’t use anything that is hurting you. I find the lather from regular shampoos can sting and cause flare-ups.

I have used L’Oreal’s Elvive Extraordinary Oil Low Shampoo in the past. It takes some getting used to because this shampoo doesn’t lather. Leave these no-lather products in for three minutes or as instructed. It’s also better for winter because it won’t dry your hair out like regular shampoo can.

I found my hair felt thicker afterwards. I forgot to repurchase this because I was busy moving and changing. That being said, I have ordered a similar product and will let you know the results.

Avoid The Heat

I haven’t used hair straighteners in a very long time. The heat that comes off of these tools can cause flare-ups. The same goes for hair dryers, I tend to use the lowest heat setting or let my hair air dry.

It might be worth looking at the products you’re applying to your hair post-wash. I have stopped using these for now and am occasionally using a small amount of coconut oil by running it through the ends of my hair. It keeps my hair soft and smells great but use a tiny amount. Too much leaves your hair looking saturated.

Laundry Detergent

As with a lot of cleaning products your laundry detergent could be affecting the health of your skin. I have also heard this from people who do not necessarily suffer from sensitive skin or eczema.

Some brands are harsher than others. I was using Daz before and I was sure it didn’t agree with me. I was a new graduate who had just got my first full time job and my mindset at the time was to buy the most affordable product.

Fairy Non Bio is what I use now. It has been voted the number one laundry detergent for sensitive skin. You can buy the pods in bulk from Amazon.

Or find their other products here.

I prefer the pods because they’re easier in the sense that they don’t require cleaning out the drawer afterwards. Laziness is just efficiency, right?

How Does It Work?

Non bio products don’t contain the enzymes that regular bio detergents do. These aid in the breakdown of stains containing protein, starch and fat.

This can cause concern that your washing is not being cleaned as thoroughly.

Unfortunately, those enzymes that are so good at removing stains are also what may be upsetting your skin. If you wash your clothes regularly and at a higher temperature then you shouldn’t have an issue. If possible, try to get your wash above 50° C and avoid the quick wash cycles.

I understand that it is not always possible to find this time during the week or even at the weekend. Before I moved into my new flat I was living communally with five washing machines between four blocks of flats. I realised that the best time of day to get a machine was earlier on or straight after work.

I now live in my own flat with my own washing machine (I was so excited when we got this – maybe too much so). It has a timer that allows me to put my washing in the drum at night and start so it would complete after I finish work.

I admit that I didn’t use fabric softener until I moved in with Barry who does, therefore I don’t have much to say about it. We’ve been using Comfort and it doesn’t seem to be causing any issues. If anyone has any recommendations let me know.

I’m going to try the EcoEgg next time.